Julio Le Parc prefers to call several of his most recent works of “Alchemy”. It is an appropriate word. The result of a successful alchemical operation transpires in changing the status of a matter: whether a given matter has turned into another, alchemy worked. It was what made Julio Le Parc when in the early 60s, with other artists, some closer and more distant, a share of own aesthetic sensibilities of the moment and scattered geopolitically, changed the matter of art. The foundation for Le Parc and other artists, REC, Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visual, active in Paris between 1960 and 1968, was a strong framework of the artistic scene of the time. The name itself around a large arts sector was most keenly changed from that period of the 20th century: until then, the arts were called ‘plastics’, a generic and imprecise designation which included several art modes, the painting as much as sculpture, this one ‘more plastic’ than that one (if any property was at the end); after 60 years, it has become increasingly widespread ruled to call the “visual” that same gear group. The visual arts were definitely, as proposed by the REC of Le Parc, and involved much beyond what at’ali was admitted into art; if the previous label was restricted, it was too broad (could include the cinema, in fact moreover not excluded) but still reflected better what they wanted to do those artists. In the early 20th a leading motion century had risen against what he called the retinal art obsession, or excessive attention given to the visual organ of the human being at the expense of inner cognitive function, the concept, the idea – the ordained knowledge, structured , or so it appears. The proposal of Marcel Duchamp, for example, falls within the limits of that refusal Eye Empire, somewhat paradoxically, of course, since, as the art that was opposed also to Duchamp needed eye to exist although he not limited; but it was understood that what was proposed was an art directed to the head, as Kunst in Kopf named of the beginning of conceptual art in Germany. Julio Le Parc did the opposite movement, he and other artists groups that formed a little everywhere at the moment, as the Zero Group in Germany and the Group T in Italy. Literally, the art was put again to walk on their s, not on the head. Julio le Parc art was once again look, but now in order expanded to involve not only the eye of the beholder, but rather the eye as an extension of the body, a body that feels through the eye even if it is not limited. The new idea that a body was involved in contemporary art operation was decisive. The artist’s body had already entered the scene with Yves Klein (in this case, it’s more the body of the model that Klein used) and Jackson Pollock in creative performances that had become the act of making art; the viewer’s body followed it now. The observer from the body within a space of body that could now call environment: the work of art was no longer limited only to their own restricted initial corporeal territory (the one marked by a frame or the small footprint narrowly the work); it passed to incorporate a large slice of the world which was part and which was defined by it. The black cube required by the new light art of Le Parc established a connection with another objector moment of art history, one on which Malevich made his mark in the second decade of the 20th century, presenting the artist as the true creator of light, something that he only made by the traditional way of painting. Le Parc was be one of the most outstanding artists to give concreteness to the suprematist dream. Man-artist makes his own light. A superb human act of defiance out of reach for most.
And in the case of Le Parc, this was done through the dazzling, word that best expresses the human reaction to his works. Light and movement combine to draw the viewer’s traditional state of stillness in front of a work and turn it in “total viewer” as defined Arnauld Pierre, one spectator who is established through a set of perceptive, active faculties, and intellectual ones. Indeed, in front of a work of Le Parx, the observer can recall to his/her emotions (perception), this one being activated in front of him/her as much as he/she activates the front of it (action), and them, they are called to reflect on what they see (the reasoning). The fascination predominates, it is true, and with it, the excitement, the first individual’s way of relating to the world. The other two modes, the activity and the reflectivity, below.
The kinetic light art was at the time, and remains, a landmark in the aesthetics scene that did converge to the same point several technological achievements (like the moving image) and new theoretical and conceptual settings on the idea of Art. An art made of positivity and refusal of a cultural-political accumulation from the 19th century, such as Le Parc, dialogued directly with the spirit of the 60s and met an aesthetic with enough capital to impose itself already in its own time, being proof of it the grand prize at the Venice Biennale assigned to Le Parc in 1966. The art of Le Parc has only grown since then, opening for this Argentine artist a definite place in history. The honor of making it to Curitiba International Biennial is driven by the recognition of a work that combined the two central dimensions of art in contemporary times, the most intense spirituality with the exaltation of matter on which it depends.
(Teixeira Coelho + Yamil Le Parc)