Loris Gréaud’s solo exhibition titled The Unplayed Notes at The Pace Gallery is an elaborate exhibition of sound and sculpture that recreates an otherworldly, altered environment within a formal gallery setting. A thick black curtain near the gallery’s main entrance gives way to a dark room with suspended, automated sculptures that immediately appear stellar and extraterrestrial. These robotic arms suspend and move in front of a smattering of blue LED light bulbs and immediately suggest a lunar setting. A high-volume sound, similar to the THX Deep Note, emerges from the gallery’s main space. However Gréaud’s installation not only expands on the notion of sound defining space but it also comments on the architectonic work of Iannis Xenakis.
Gréaud’s mysterious deep space environment continues to create an indecipherable aura through an array of surface textures. Beyond a jagged doorway that leads out of the first room, a monumental, porous black surface looms out from a white wall. This illusion of scorched earth is a collection of ashes that Gréaud accumulated after burning a combination of earlier art works and artist’s proofs. The artist’s destruction of material ideas speaks against the objectification of art. However this piece in particular does not dispose of the artwork entirely but instead re-shapes old forms into a new one.
A thin strip of neon white light surrounds the gallery’s main space as white noise, composed by Lee Ranaldo, continues to periodically saturate one’s auditory perception. A short film titled One Thousand Ways to Enter projects a combustion of white smoke, unfurling in slow motion across one wall. A hint of yellow appears in the left corner of the room lending an overall sense of weightlessness.
However the bright yellow seen in the third and final room serves as a metaphor of sunlight and beckons one’s curiosity. This particular area is filled with six black sculptures that purposefully weigh down and jar any kind of buoyancy that previously existed. These monumental sculptures look like figurative free standing pieces draped in black. But the blurry and undefined photographs hanging on the surrounding walls confirm that the monumentality of the past is not present. Instead it is a hallowed shell, a wish to revive time from long ago.
Loris Gréaud’s first New York exhibition took place in 2006 at the Whitney Biennial. His large-scale suggestion of time in a vacuum titled CELLAR DOOR appeared at the Palais de Tokyo in 2008. Since then he has continued to explore alternative realities through the means of sculptural installation. The Unplayed Notes is a show of futuristic desires using forms seen in bygone eras. Gréaud’s use of art historical templates serves as a cornerstone to something new that is framed by a unique experience with spontaneous sound.
(All images: Loris Gréaud, The Unplayed Notes, installation views; Courtesy of The Pace Gallery)