Daniel Buren Colorizes Fondation Vuitton

Paris.- A site-specific work by the French artist Daniel Buren, titled “Observatory of Light,” will be unveiled at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris on May 11, the foundation announced April 11.

To be installed across the glass ‘sails’, the emblematic feature of the Frank Gehry-designed building, the work comprises 3,600 pieces of glass that will be covered by 13 colored filters, at equal distances from one another, that will cover the building in various shades and hues as the day passes.

Using sunlight, projections, reflections, transparencies and contrasts, various colored forms will appear and disappear at certain intervals, while, true to Buren’s oeuvre of using his “visual tool” (8.7 cm-wide alternating white and colored vertical stripes), also alternating with white and blank stripes perpendicular to the ground.

“Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent and enchanting, the result of a real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building. His work responds magnificently to the architecture, in line with his approach, going back to the 1970s, that sees a coming together of colors, transparency and light,” said Bernard Arnault, President of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in a statement.

In conjunction with the installation, a new catalogue, co-edited with publisher Xavier Barral, will amalgamate works based around intersecting themes of color, transparency, light, translucency, and projection, created between the 1970s and today.

As well, BurenCirque — a contemporary circus devised by Buren, in conjunction with Dan and Fabien Demuynck — will set up a base across the foundation’s site, to perform its new show “3 Times a Hut”, inspired by fairground architecture, on June 2, 3 and 4.

Sometimes classified as an abstract minimalist Buren is known best for using regular, contrasting colored stripes in an effort to integrate visual surface and architectural space, notably on historical, landmark architecture.

In 2013, Buren collaborated with Louis Vuitton on the spring/summer advertising campaign - which featured distinctive yellow chessboard dresses and luxury accessories.

Among his chief concerns is the 'scene of production' as a way of presenting art and highlighting facture (the process of 'making' rather than for example, mimesis or representation of anything but the work itself). His work is usually a site-specific installation, having a relation to its setting in contrast to prevailing ideas of an autonomous work of art.

Architecturally Specific Works

In 1986, when François Mitterrand was president of France, Buren attained leading artist status after he created Les Deux Plateaux (1985–86), a work in situ for the Cour d'honneur at the Palais Royal in Paris.

That same year, he represented France at the Venice Biennale and won the Golden Lion Award for best pavilion. Buren had major solo exhibitions at the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, in 1989, at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 2002, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2005, at Modern Art Oxford in 2006, and at the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in 2011.

In December 2006 Buren won the competition to make Arcos Rojos / Arku Gorriaka, a new major project for the iconic 'Puente de La Salve' bridge next to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao while, in February 2007, the Musée Fabre in Montpellier re-opened with a new permanent commission.

For the 52nd Venice Biennale, Buren created a new site-specific work for the Giardini of the Italian Pavilion, and was curator of Sophie Calle's contribution to the French Pavilion.

In 2011, he decided to cancel an exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing in "solidarity" with detained artist Ai Weiwei.The fifth artist ever to fill the space of the Grand Palais on the occasion of the Monumenta exhibition, Buren conceived Excentrique(s) in 2012, a giant cluster of colored, transparent plastic discs, which overlap to form a colorful canopy.