Philippe Parreno and Daniel Buren cast spectral shadows in Paris

Philippe Parreno and Daniel Buren cast spectral shadows in Paris

Inaugurating Kamel Mennour’s fifth gallery space, designed by Pierre Yovanovitch, the French artists unveil their first joint exhibition, and it raises more questions than answers

Shards of fluorescent light stream onto the gallery floor, mirrored pillars trap colours in a spectral haze. Daniel Buren and Philippe Parreno’s ‘Simultanément, travaux in situ et en mouvement’ is a show that leaves more to the imagination than most. 

The exhibition is a fusion of forms and creative minds: individual works by each artist have been connected to form one installation with underlying themes of automation, uncertainty, and inconclusiveness. It investigates, as Parreno describes, ‘the way things appear and disappear, which is the definition of a ghost or indeed any form that manifests itself.’ 

Here, the new space becomes as much a part of the work as the art itself. The 600 sq m gallery on Paris’ rue du Pont de Lodi is Kamel Mennour’s fifth and marks its third collaboration with interior designer – and Wallpaper* Designer of the Year 2019 – Pierre Yovanovitch. ‘When I saw the new Kamel Mennour gallery site, it reminded me of a cloister with its row of windows and its succession of posts’, says Yovanovitch. ‘After doing some research about the location, we wanted to maintain the building’s original character while emphasising its volume.’ 

Daniel Buren and Philippe Parreno exhibition kamel mennour 2020
Daniel Buren and Philippe Parreno exhibition kamel mennour 2020

As well as a dialogue between the artists’ work, the site-specific installation is also in deep conversation with the space. Each window is covered in a vibrantly-coloured film, which obscures the view to the outside world and drenches the gallery with rhythmic, intoxicating fragments of pink, blue and yellow. 

‘The space opens and closes to the rhythm of a form that is also trying to exist, to appear within a gaze, to manifest itself. A space undergoing the time of its own unveiling. A stochastic space, one given up to chance, made up of glimmers and events’, says Parreno. ‘Everything is breath and movement in this place that is never really a place since it is endlessly forming and deforming itself.’ §

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