Saturday, November 8, 2008

Le Laboratoire

About a year ago I visited Le Laboratoire, a new art space which opened in October 2007. The space was still undergoing construction but the concept of Le Labo was immediately intriging--as a place where science art would converge in installations and multi-media projects. I finally got back there last week. The space is beautifully finished, staff welcoming and helpful with information (and free coffee). The current exhibition is between Japanese electronic composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda, and Benedict Gross, professor of Mathematics at Harvard University. As in this case, the founder of Le Labo, American novelist and scientist, David Edwards, brings artist and scientist together to develop an idea, which is then featured in the museum.

The exhibition is visually minimal. In the first room, the space is darkened and two long, rectangular photographs are suspended about a foot above the ground. At first glance it appears to be just black and white tiny checkerboard print but when looked at with magnifying glass or really close up, you see that in fact it is a long series of random numbers. The other photograph consists of prime numbers. Mathematical minimalism. In the next room, also dark, is a very brightly florescent lit chamber of sorts that has a humming vibration. It felt like a UV sun bed and on the foggy day helped brigten my mood, though not sure if that is the point. Ikeda states that he has here conceived a work where the definition of the sublime blends with the immateriality of infinity.

When you leave the exhibition rooms, you are invited to browse the media center filled with books and a couple of videos related to the installation. Coffee is offered and it is a really nice, comfortable space to take few extra minutes to learn about the show and Le Labo's mission. Definitely worth keeping on the radar. 4, rue Bouloi, 75001. Open Friday-Monday 12-19h.

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