(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.

14 May 2012

Daniel Buren: Excentrique(s) @ the Grand Palais


In this in situ piece, "Excentrique(s)" — which means both "elliptical" and "eccentric" — which opened to the public yesterday a the Grand Palais and remains visible through June 21, Daniel Buren started with the north entrance, building a true artificial landscape, a passageway that takes visitors under a canopy of circle-shaped colored pergolas, leading to a sort of clearing under the big space's large central dome. There, mirrors have been installed, reflecting the ambient colors of the installation in an extraordinary way.

The work cost €1.5 million ($1.9 million) and Buren spent two years designing it, with numerous sketches and the determination to rise above space constraints. Created with the assistance of architect Patrick Bouchain, it took seven days to install. "The primary characteristic is light, volume, and air," Buren told ARTINFO France. "[The circles] are eight feet high, which is the ceiling height of the average apartment. Physically, the circles are off-center. You can really see how my work functions with the sun and the mirrors in the middle: everyone starts to be backwards!"

Light and airy, this display of 377 lofted plastic circles (plus three outside the Grand Palais), designed to be on a human scale and held up by very slim columns, constitutes a fun work, facilitating all manner of encounters. It's an intimate space, where you see life through rose-, blue-, green-, and yellow-colored glasses, and also a public space, where you can casually stroll — without, however, any sense of the bucolic, given the flamboyant artificiality of this work's environment. The circles give a psychedelic feel to the monumental building, especially at night.

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