Paris

Vincent Lamouroux

Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry - le Crédac

The installation, Grounded, 2005, conceived by Vincent Lamouroux for the lower level of Crédac, is situated in a very long room with a partly tilted floor that was originally intended to serve as a movie theater. In this windowless space, a wood-and-metal grid was suspended halfway down from the ceiling; it had a largely even, openwork design, except for a circle cut out of it toward the back of the room. A wide black band was painted around the walls, starting two feet above the floor and reaching a foot and a half below the height of the grid. With this intervention, Lamouroux continued his investigation of one’s relationship with space—physical as well as imaginary, natural as well as constructed. In doing so, he is reformulating the notion of site as defined by Daniel Buren in the ’70s. With this false ceiling parallel to the floor, he created a sort of subbasement within the basement, thus revealing the specific nature of the place and recalling its history; but far from disturbing the exhibition space, he aims more toward offering the visitor a multilayered experience of it, an experience in which the physical is closely linked to the imaginary.

Formally, the work’s vocabulary is related to geometric abstraction—the materials belong to the domain of construction, and the dialogue with architecture is patent: Lamouroux invokes certain characteristics of modern art history, not for their own sake but more broadly as components of a visual culture that has already assimilated them. The hanging structure reiterates the outline of the planted terraces that crown the complex to which the Crédac building belongs; it also invokes, but as if flattened out, the kinds of structural armatures imagined by Buckminster Fuller and others in their efforts to renew architectural thinking. In this way, the structure points to the intense circulation of forms that has shaped our environments and imaginations, from the avant-garde experiments of the twentieth century to their most concrete applications. More prosaically, this modernist grid, freed from the plane and projected into space, could be that of a pavement (in which case the space would be upside down), a sort of apparatus for suspending oneself above the ground, or even a simple pergola, thereby revealing the natural sources of certain architectures. Yet as the nature of this structure is indeterminate, so are its potential habitation and use; the movements and behavior it invites have yet to be invented.

The more immediate effect the installation produced had to do with the play of light it generated: Indeed, half-light reigned under this structure that supported nothing if not an illuminated zone—a sky?—of which one might not have been fully aware until reaching the pool of light cut into the grid, illuminated by neon tubes arranged in a circle—a sun? Then, in this rigorously closed space and by means of a structure that reduced it even more, Lamouroux managed to suggest the circulation between interior and exterior—an opening. The grid projected its distorted shadows onto the walls, producing an ethereal meshing of space, a three-dimensional labyrinth incorporating the viewer’s body and inviting her to create another space by pacing it off.

Guitemie Maldonado

Translated from French by Jeanine Herman.