In a group of new works all designed specifically for the centre, Kiaer reconsiders the visionary aspect of the building, drawing a parallel between the thinking of Aldo Rossi and the utopian projects of 19th-century architects like Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and Etienne-Louis Boullee.
For his first solo exhibition in France, British artist Ian Kiaer is proposing a reinterpretation of the art centre's architecture, designed by Aldo Rossi and Xavier Fabre in 1986–88 and built on Vassivière Island in 1989–91.
In a group of new works all designed specifically for the centre, Kiaer reconsiders the visionary aspect of the building, drawing a parallel between the thinking of Aldo Rossi and the utopian projects of 19th-century architects like Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and Étienne-Louis Boullée.
Challenging the predefined function initially allotted to each room in response to the different phases of the life of a work, the artist takes a fresh look at the relationships between research, creation and transmission, devising subtle installations that involve a mix of the archival and the found.
In the dim interior of the Lighthouse we find a black and white projection of an Expressionist silhouette. Captured in real time by a CCTV camera, the image is that of a small architect's model floating on the lake, inspired by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux's 'Ideal House' at Mauperthuis.
In the Nave Kiaer strips the architectural context bare by detaching the fluorescent tubes—additions not planned by the architects—and letting them dangle along the wall. An enormous, transparent inflatable reversing the structure of the inner framework fills the space, while the solidity of the granite at ground level contrasts with the imprint of the wooden floor in Kiaer's London studio, obtained by frottage on silver leaf. The work is rounded off by photographs and paintings referencing a mix of visionary architecture and vegetal motifs.
In the Workshop the spirit of Kiaer's London studio makes itself felt again, mingled this time with slide projections of the building of the Art Centre. The Study Room, by contrast, is home to his most sculptural work, which uses everyday items in a harking-back to Claude-Nicolas Ledoux's spherical building.
The exhibition closes in the Little Theatre, whose character the artist underscores by unspooling rolls of paper like a curtain facing the rows of sets, and adding appropriate furniture, screens and other props.
Ian Kiaer was born in 1971 in London, where he lives and works.
Kiaer's work has been included in the Lyon Biennale (2009) and Rennes Biennale (2012) as well as in recent group exhibitions Le vicomte pourfendu, Marcelle Alix, Paris; Champ d'expériences, CIAP Vassivière, France; and Ahoy! An Island!, Fondation d'entreprise Ricard, Paris. MUDAM, Luxembourg is currently exhibiting works by Kiaer in L'Image Papillon, a group exhibition curated by Christophe Gallois.
Designed in collaboration with the artist, the catalogue functions as a fragment of the exhibition. A poster inserted into an envelope is accompanied by a text by philosopher Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield. The bilingual French/English catalogue is on sale in bookshops. Graphic design: Adrien Aymard
The exhibition is supported by the Franco-British contemporary art fund Fluxus and the British Council. With thanks to Alison Jacques Gallery, London and Marcelle Alix, Paris.
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Opening: Saturday 13 April, 4pm
Centre international d'art et du paysage
F-87120 Beaumont-du-Lac, Ile de Vassiviere
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–1pm, 2–6pm; July–August: every day 11am–7pm
1.50 € (age 12-17 inclusive, students, jobseekers)
Free (under-12s, disabled visitors and their carers, ‘‘Friends of the Art Centre’’ members, Artothèque Annexe subscribers)