During the 1960s, Julio Le PARC (born in 1928 in Buenos Aires, lives and works in Cachan, France) was at the origin of numerous aesthetic practices that are of great importance today. The works from 1959 to 1971 gathered by the art historian Matthieu Poirier for our exhibition rely on dematerialization, perceptive haze, formal reduction, artificial lights, environments, the audience’s implication, and varying levels of vision. These elements have become of crucial importance for several contemporary artists such as James TURRELL, Anthony McCALL, Dan GRAHAM, Carsten HÖLLER, Ann Veronica JANSSENS, Olafur ELIASSON, Anish KAPOOR, Jeppe HEIN or Philippe DECRAUZAT, just to name only a few.
Other works by LE PARC, shown at the MOCA in Los Angeles and at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, reveal a language that is at once minimalist and complex and in opposition with classical abstract compositions.
In 1972, after LE PARC has already become a well-respected artist with these artworks, Jacques LASSAIGNE, the director of the Museum of Modern Art of Paris, suggests a large retrospective exhibition of his works from the years 1959 to 1972. However, the ambiance remains anti-institutional and, after having weighed and explored the pros and cons of this show in a long text, Le Parc declares that he is ‘incapable of making a decision’. He decides to flip a coin: heads he accepts, tails he refuses. On one fateful Saturday in April, the artist’s young son tosses a coin into the air in front of witnesses at the museum. The coin lands tails up and the exhibition doesn’t take place.
Le Parc has continued his use of light and kinetics. However, “in the 1970s, Le Parc’s artistic activities became less frequent, to the degree that his work almost went unnoticed in the international arena for several decades”.Nonetheless, with a renewed interest in using light as a medium, Le Parc’s work is being brought to the attention of a wider public.
In 2004 he produced with Yvonne Argenterio in Elettrofiamma, Italy, a series of sculptures (Torsions) presented the event “Verso la Luce”, in the Castle of Boldeniga (Brescia, Italy). It is still visible in the castle garden monumental sculpture “Verso la Luce”. He received a one man show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2013. He is socially committed to immersive art.