Opening: Saturday, April 16, 2016, 6pm-8:30pm
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is delighted to present Luminous Discontent, an exhibition of new work by American artist Robert Longo, of his large-scale charcoal drawings and sculpture spanning the three floors of the Paris Marais gallery.
Longo constructed the exhibition for the gallery space with a collision of epic images.
First, the viewer encounters, from a distance, a large-scale abstraction, Untitled (Shipwreck, Redux), 2016. A blurred mass, seeming somehow both from the future and the past, denying the viewer a legible first impression. This piece sets the tone for Longo’s exhibition: initially disorienting, then urging that the viewer shifts focus, transcends vision, and instead accesses a deeper, more visceral instinct and intuition.
On the ground floor, muted words vibrate off the walls; words from an unsent love letter by Beethoven appear barely visible. The cracked ice of a massive iceberg calls across the space to the fractures of a bullet hole in a plate glass window from Paris. Longo’s works reflect our time, teeming with entropy and uncertainty.
A new body of work based on X-rays of paintings by Van Gogh and the Old Masters will be on view on the first floor. About this series, Olivia Murphy writes, “We see the brutality of the nails hammered into the stretcher, we see the cracks and the physicality of paint that has decomposed over time, we see the essence of the work as we know it through the obscured details of its under-image. We see the unseen, the internal aura that is held within the painting, visible only through x-ray technology; we see the soul. In a way, the translation and veneration of these paintings into drawings becomes like a beatification, sainting them into Longo’s art historical heaven.”
Luminous Discontent, investigates through scale and the medium of charcoal, how a belief in the unseen breeds an opposition of forces, trust and skepticism, hope and fear. Through Longo’s work, light illuminates our history and reflects back to us our chaotic present.
A bi-lingual (English/French) book will be published to accompany the exhibition featuring an essay by Olivia Murphy, a New York based writer and artist.
Robert Longo was born in 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. Longo’s work is represented in numerous major museums and private collections all over the world, including The Museum of Modern Art, NYC; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; Los Angeles Art; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Albertina, Vienna; and the Tate, London.
In 2005 he was the recipient of the prestigious Goslar Kaiser Ring in Germany for “outstanding achievements in modern art,” and in 2010, he was inducted as Officier de L'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture.
Longo has had solo exhibitions in prominent public institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1989), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1989), Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (1991), Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo (1995), Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Krefeld and the Albertina, Vienna (both in 2002), Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain, Nice (2009), the Museu Berardo, Lisbon (2010), the Kunsthalle Weishaupt in Ulm (2010) and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Connecticut (2012). He has participated in group exhibitions including Documenta, the Whitney Biennial, and the Venice Biennale.
In the Fall 2016, the artist will have an exhibition at The Garage, Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. The publishing house Hatje Cantz is preparing a major, new monograph titled American Epic.
Robert Longo would like to give a special thanks to the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France for their extreme generosity and assistance in his X-ray research.
Detail of Bullet Hole in Window, January 7, 2015, 2015-2016
Charcoal on mounted paper
193cm x 262 cm (76x143 inches)