Julio Le Parc: artist who managed to transcend the limits of Op-art – Onionlab
6-2-20

Julio Le Parc: artist who managed to transcend the limits of Op-art

Julio Le Parc is an Argentinian artist who focuses on both modern op art and kinetic art. His objective has always been to generate a link between the work and spectator

Julio Le Parc has always been a source of inspiration for Onionlab when creating audiovisual projects. His distinguished Op-Art and imminent immersive art, has left a path that we indisputably follow when generating interactive, immersive and unique experiences.

Born in 1928 in Argentina, he studied at the National School of Fine Arts. In the school students began to practice painting and sculpture through drawing and modeling, imitating the teachers and through other subjects such as nude painting and portraits.

 

Julio Le Parc
Julio Le Parc

At the age of 30, thanks to a scholarship granted by the French embassy in Argentina, he  moved to Paris. He decided to move there to break dependency from other Argentinian artists, and to see with his own eyes what was being done in France, not the distorted reflection that came to Buenos Aires.

With more than 60 years of legacy, he is still one of the most significant figures in the op-art movement. This movement, which arose at the end of the 50s, and prevails until today, has been a revolutionary art of the time. “Optical art” achieves that the singular signs are repeated based on measurable and comparable regulations and that serial structures give rise to redundancy understood as repetition in space, with or without variations. Its objective is to produce effects of relief, depth or movements of geometric shapes without resorting to the relief or the real animation of the surfaces. It is based not only on the mechanical, electronic and light movement of the works, but also on the optical effect that is achieved with the movement of the spectator, the head and eyes movement to achieve focus on the effect proposed by the art work.

 

Ondes 110 n°8, 1974
Ondes 110 n°8, 1974

Le Parc’s work is avant-garde, innovative and bold. In his artwork he uses the most varied series of elements  which surprise or control the gaze. He began painting small format pieces in gouache or ink on cardboard. First, with monochrome sequences and then in color. For his emblematic work “Ondes 110 nº8”, he composed a complete range of 14 colors that went from yellow to green, blue, violet, red and orange. The colors were pure, they were not degraded with either black or white and with them he managed to summarize all the variations of the chromatic mixtures.

 In this process, he began to capture the reflection-images that, together with the woodcuts and monocopies he had made in Argentina, marked his first research around the problems of movement and the link between the work and the spectator.

In 1960 he founded the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV, Visual Art Research Group), a space that remained active only for ten years, at that time immersive art did not have the importance or notoriety that it has today.

GRAV noticed that in the exhibitions, the spectators weren’t involved or played any part. That is why, they managed to transcend the Op-art, kinetic art and even conceptual art to begin to give life to an experimental art. They aimed their works at different types of spectators. GRAV started producing for people who were on the other side of the museum door. They conducted surveys to know the opinion of visitors about the productions and relied on their ability to observe and reflect.

 

Frappez les gradés, 1971
Frappez les gradés, 1971
Continuel-lumière cylindre, 1962
Continuel-lumière cylindre, 1962

Moreover, they introduced the idea of ​​the game into art. One of Le Parc’s most renowned works that focused on this idea, was “Une journée dans la rue” (A day on the street). This piece basically offered different experiences to the citizens of Paris. An example of these experiences was to place balloons on one side of a square of a Parisian neighbourhood and pins on the other side. People who received balloons and those with the pins walked past each other and had to decide what to do with the objects they were given. This way le Parc could observe the reactions of people. Would people with the pins puncture the balloons? Would the ones carrying balloons try to protect them? They collected evidence that the public is not inert, inexpressive, boring and indifferent. The idea was to avoid situations of inferiority, which was what happened when people went to a museum or gallery.

Little by little, within his work appeared light and the movement of the spectator. He was among the first to start using suspended mobiles to split the light and create other shapes. He used all the elements he had available: cardboard, paper and metal plates, and with them he generated his spectacular creations.

 

La esfera azul, 2001
La esfera azul, 2001
Lumieres Alternees, 1963-1993
Lumieres Alternees, 1963-1993

Le Parc also entered the world of sculpture. Starting from relief drawings that managed to reach the volume, in ways that reflected his research based on the mathematical principle of progressions. White forms where variations of levels and positions of planes come alive with the incidence of light and the movement of the spectator.

 

The Other Trans-Atlantic. Kinetic And Op Art In Eastern Europe And Latin America 1950S - 1970S
The Other Trans-Atlantic. Kinetic And Op Art In Eastern Europe And Latin America 1950S - 1970S
Cloison à lames reflechissantes, 1966-2012
Cloison à lames reflechissantes, 1966-2012

On February 14, 15 and 16, Julio Le Parc will showcase his mapping piece on the facade of the Disseny Hub museum at the Llum Festival in Barcelona.  ​​

We are delighted to collaborate with him on this project, that is very special and dear to us.  Thanks to this collaboration we had an honour to meet Mr. Julio Le Parc in his studio in Paris and define the details of the mapping. 

Llum will transform the streets of the Poblenou neighborhood into eccentric works of art and experimentation laboratories, through light as a creative medium and the work of artists, designers and architects from around the world. Once again, Julio Le Parc will show that his art has no limits.