By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In mid-October, the major Latin American art and cultural space, Casa Daros, opened the doors on its second major exhibition since its grand opening in March earlier this year. Entitled “Le Parc Lumière – Obras cinéticas de Julio Le Parc” (“Le Parc Lumiere – The kinetic works of Julio Le Parc”), the thirty installations will remain on display until February 23rd of next year.

Julio Le Parc, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Julio Le Parc’s “Continuel Lumière Cylindre”, 1962, photo by Yann Caradec/Flicker Creative Commons License.

Born in Argentina in 1928, Le Parc has significantly influenced the international contemporary art world during his over eighty-plus year career. Le Parc is famous for using light and the reflection of that light on various moving materials to create immersive environments. Through the use of the reflective objects, lights and motors, Le Parc forces viewers to question their own visual perceptions and their own location within the environment.

In his 1960 essay, “Eliminate the Word ‘Art’“, Le Parc wrote, “because of its multiple angles of vision, a three-dimensional space determines a type of appreciation. Static objects can take into account the movement of the observer. When real movement is involved, the relation with the idea of movement becomes more difficult.”

What a Le Parc exhibition often amounts to is a dazzling and disorienting experience brought about by the play of lights and objects in motion. Born the son of a railway worker in Mendoza, Le Parc moved to Buenos Aires with his mother and brothers at the age of fourteen. There he apprenticed under a leather goods manufacturer by day and by night studied in preparation for admission tests for the School of Fine Arts.

Instability, 1963 Julio Le Parc, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Julio Le Parc’s “Instability” 1963, photo by Cliffcliff1066/Flickr Creative Commons License.

After successfully gaining admission to the school, Le Parc began to develop an increasing interest in avant-garde art movements. Over time, an interest in social and activist movements also began to grow.

In 1958 he traveled for the first time to Paris, where he studied the works of contemporary avant-garde artists. In 1959 he began to experiment with the use of light in his works and the following year he co-founded the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (Visual Arts Research Group) or GRAV foundation, an organization that functions to this day. Through meetings, essays/texts and discussions, GRAV explores the production, significance and importance of the creation of works.

“Le Parc Lumière” was first presented by the DarosLatinAmerica Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland in 2005. Considered by many to be one of Le Parc’s most notable exhibits in recent years, it throws visitors into often pitch-black rooms where light installations play with the imagination.

Located in the Rio neighborhood of Botafogo, Casa Daros was established as the Rio extension of the Zurich-based Daros Foundation, showcasing the contemporary art that is part of the vast collection and curated by the foundation’s artistic director Hans-Michael Herzog.

What: Julio Le Parc – “Le Parc Lumière”
When: October 12, 2013 – February 23, 2014
Where: Casa Daros, Rua General Severiano 159, Botafogo
Telefone: (21) 2138-0850
Tickets: R$12 (Free entry on Wednesdays)
More information on the Casa Daros website here.

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