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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See 6 Sep 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Laurent Grasso

b. 1972, France

Interested in science, history, epistemology and the paranormal, French conceptual artist Laurent Grasso uses painting, neon, installation and film to present half-imagined narratives as deeply researched truths.

As a fact-based discipline, science (and in particular, astronomy, electromagnetic energy and radio waves) is a frequent point of departure for Grasso, who deals with its more disturbing connotations. His 2009 installation Haarp at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, for example, was inspired by the antennas at an American military research base in Alaska, which some believe were erected to control both the climate and population. Consisting of 18 recreated antennas linked by black cables in the Paris gallery space, the density of transmission apparatuses—usually seen spread out across a vast area—resulted in an atmosphere of pointed unease.

Indeed, Grasso approaches his artworks like a film director, taking into account the minute details of his exhibitions, down to the sounds and sensations in the room. This cinematic sensibility comes as no surprise, given the artist's dedication to moving image. One of Grasso's best-known films, titled Élysée, centres around the aesthetics of power; in 2015, granted rare access to the office of the President of the French Republic at the Élysée Palace in Paris, Grasso made a hypnotic, slow-moving portrait of the room, focusing on the golden, gilded details: piles of paperwork and pens in the office where major decisions are made on behalf of the nation. Set to a soundtrack by Nicolas Godin and produced at a time of deep political uncertainty in Europe, the film examines the iconography of authority and the inanimate phenomena that stands in for political might.

Grasso was similarly concerned with the visualisation of authority in the film Soleil Double (2014). Recorded in EUR—a city district of the south of Rome that was developed in the 1930s for the 1942 Worlds Fair and intended as an homage to the 20th anniversary of Fascism—the film shows two suns shining over a plaza that includes both buildings in the style of the 1930s and more contemporary structures. Ominous and otherworldly, the two suns in the sky seem to foreshadow an immense natural disaster while destabilising the representation of truth and the trustworthiness of the author.

As a city loaded with historical connotations, Rome is rife with inspiration for Grasso. Also set there is his 2008 video Les Oiseaux (The Birds), which depicts a flock of starlings flying above the Vatican at dusk. Isolated in the frame, the undulating flock resembles an ionic particle field at the whim of imperceptible magnetic waves. Set too in the Vatican, the silver bromide prints in Grasso's 2014 'Specola Vaticana' series present historical photographs of the pope looking through a telescope—an unusual synthesis of science and spirituality, and a nod to the link between astronomical understanding and power.

With the same focus on the sky, Grasso's massive outdoor light installation SolarWind (2016) is based on storms in outer space. Projected onto the walls of enormous silos in Paris' 13th district, the permanent work translates real-time cosmic flows and solar activity into poetic, flowing and multi-coloured hues. Other public installations include Nomiya (2009–2011), a movable restaurant on the roof of the Palais de Tokyo; and Anechoic Pavilion, a minimalist, one-room cabin that was designed as a place to meditate and installed atop a Hong Kong ferry pier in 2012.

A highly skilled draftsman, Grasso is also known to paint in historical styles using antiquated materials such as animal adhesive. The series 'Studies into the Past' (2009–ongoing) saw him create Renaissance-style paintings in his own hand, mixing boiled oil with his pigments so that the works would become dimmer when exposed to light—therefore 'ageing' the images and making them look more genuine.

A winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize (2008), Grasso studied at the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris; The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York; Central Saint Martins, London; and Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing. He currently lives and works in Paris.

Elliat Albrecht | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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OttO by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoOttO, 2018 LED screen, aluminium
8 7/8 x 12 13/16 x 3 3/8 inches
Sean Kelly
Anechoic by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoAnechoic, 2018 Oil and white gold leaf on wood
13 3/4 x 22 1/16 x 1 9/16 inches
Sean Kelly
Studies into the Past by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoStudies into the Past Grisaille and oil on wood
30 13/16 x 39 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches
Sean Kelly
OttO by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoOttO, 2018 Oil and palladium leaf on wood
11 13/16 x 7 7/8 x 2 3/16 inches
Sean Kelly
OttO by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoOttO, 2018 Oil and palladium leaf on wood
11 13/16 x 7 7/8 x 2 3/16 inches
Sean Kelly
Untitled by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoUntitled, 2019 Neon installation
Sean Kelly
The Owl of Minerva by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoThe Owl of Minerva, 2017 Onyx, LED
40 x 37 x 6.5 cm
Sean Kelly
Radionix by Laurent Grasso contemporary artwork
Laurent GrassoRadionix, 2018 Walnut, amethyst, citrine, aluminium, copper and silver
21 x 30 x 8 cm
Sean Kelly

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Laurent Grasso, OttO at Perrotin, Paris
Closed
6 September–6 October 2018 Laurent Grasso OttO Perrotin, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Summer Gallery Highlights at Perrotin, Hong Kong
Closed
21 July–8 September 2018 Group Exhibition Summer Gallery Highlights Perrotin, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Laurent Grasso, Élysée at Sean Kelly, New York
Closed
6 May–17 June 2017 Laurent Grasso Élysée Sean Kelly, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Laurent Grasso at Perrotin, Paris Ocula Insight Laurent Grasso at Perrotin, Paris 29 August 2018

Laurent Grasso, OttO (2018) (extract). HD film. 21 min 26 sec. 1/5 + 2 AP. © Laurent Grasso / ADAGP Paris, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Perrotin.Entrenched in the invisible correlations between mythology and science, French artist Laurent Grasso has lately been attempting to visualise the sacred.OttO, Grasso's solo exhibition at...

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Four exhibitions to see in Hong Kong this Spring Ocula Report Four exhibitions to see in Hong Kong this Spring 14 Apr 2016 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

Afterwork at Para Site19 March to 29 May 2016In a city where the problems and issues facing migrant workers—who make up approximately 4% of the population, and are mainly women—are seldom addressed, and where stories of injustice and tales of domestic-helper abuse by employers have been making headlines in the past couple of...

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In Related Press

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Sydney Biennale modestly comes of age with moments of curatorial brilliance Related Press Sydney Biennale modestly comes of age with moments of curatorial brilliance The Conversation : 16 March 2018

If a 21st birthday "coming of age" observance can be applied to cultural events, 2018 marks the launch into adulthood of the Biennale of Sydney. In some ways Sydney's biennale was a precocious child, turning its back during infancy on mainstream Eurocentric art in favour of exploring its local geographic region, early on including...

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The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition Related Press The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition 6 April 2017

The world-renowned Biennale of Sydney is back next year to celebrate its 45th anniversary exhibition. Set to maintain its status as the largest and best-attended contemporary arts event in Australia, the 21st Biennale of Sydney is anticipated to once again bring an impressive and diverse range of contemporary artists and artworks to the...

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Parallel universe: Laurent Grasso's beguiling reinvention of a Corsican Beaux-Arts museum Related Press Parallel universe: Laurent Grasso's beguiling reinvention of a Corsican Beaux-Arts museum Wallpaper* : 17 August 2016

The Palais Fesch, an imposing 19th century building on the waterfront of the Corsican capital of Ajaccio, houses France's largest collection of Italian paintings outside the Louvre. There are works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Titian, Veronese and many others – interspersed among portraits and busts of the island's most illustrious...

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Emmanuel Perrotin opens new gallery in Seoul Related Press Emmanuel Perrotin opens new gallery in Seoul Blouin Art Info : 7 May 2016

Galerie Perrotin has opened a new space in Seoul, located in the gallery and museum enclave of Palpan-gil.The Seoul space, which measures 180 square meters and also houses a bookshop displaying the editions and books printed by the gallery, will present a program of younger Korean artists. It will be led by Alice Lung, who continues to serve as...

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In Video & Audio

Laurent Grasso 'OttO', Perrotin Paris Related Video & Audio Laurent Grasso 'OttO', Perrotin Paris Perrotin : 3 December 2018

Laurent Grasso OttO at Perrotin ParisSeptember 6-October 6, 2018

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