As part of FIAC, the Palais d’Iéna in Paris, which houses the headquarters of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), is hosting for ten days, an exhibition of the Brazilian artist Artur Lescher. Exhibited for the first time in France, the works are either from Brazilian collections or have been made specifically for this event. They open up an innovative dialogue with the modern classicism of the architect Auguste Perret’s monumental spaces.
Following in the footsteps of Antony Gormley, Francesco Vezzoli and Carlos Cruz-Diez, Artur Lescher’s work is now exhibited within the architecture of the Palais d’Iéna. Lescher, born in 1962 in Sao Paulo where he lives and works, has enjoyed considerable recognition across the Atlantic since the 1980s, notably for his attachment to neo-concretism, a major current of abstract art that draws on cognitivism and the phenomenology of perception. This exhibition offers a transversal view of Lescher’s oeuvre in terms of its resonance with certain characteristics of Auguste Perret’s distinguished building, which was opened in 1939 and is now the headquarters of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE). The sculptures and installations presented all come from Brazilian collections or have been made specifically for the exhibition. They enter into dialogue with the modern classicism of Perret’s monumental spaces: the powerful colonnade of the hypostyle hall, the hemicycle, and the staircase. In contact with the aesthetic of Artur Lescher’s works, these volumes, though they are interior spaces, reveal themselves to be intrinsically places of great openness, articulacy and energy. By harking back in this way to the initial model of the classical “porticus” and to its democratic aspect, the artist symbolically opens the place up towards the outside, but also, on a more intimate register, towards the perceptual mechanics of the spectator
Artur Lescher’s sculptural work is, in fact, intrinsically connected to architectural space. The main quality of Artur Lescher’s pared-down, finely crafted works is that they produce a tangible field force—a magnetic field, one might say, considering the metals he uses (copper, brass, and others). But it is, above all, a perceptual matter. Indeed, his works aim to connect and articulate the various spaces and materials in Perret’s momentous building.
Artur Lescher’s works are composed essentially of wood, brass, textile, stone or copper that are carefully designed—one hesitates to say “manufactured” as it would distract from the profound craftsmanship of their author’s method. In their central symmetry and their delicate openwork, the elongated conical form of some of them echoes Perret’s massive, multifaceted columns, with which they co-exist in various different ways in the immense hypostyle hall of the Palais d’Iéna. Incidentally, Perret modelled the way his columns gradually taper towards the top on the trunk of a palm tree.
Excerpt from Matthieu Poirier’s text, curator of the exhibition
The CESE encompasses organised civil society and articulates its different forms of expression.
By hosting this substantial exhibition, the Palais d’Iéna reaffirms CESE’s place at the heart of both society and its culture. Cultural and art-related projects actively contribute to enhancing dialogue amongst citizens, as do numerous manifestations and debates organised by the institution. Accordingly, it was only natural for the CESE to host this contemporary art exhibition.
Photo: Installation view of Porticus by Artur Lescher at the Palais d’Iéna 2017 © Benoit Fougerolles