Galeria Luciana Brito

Raphaël Zarka: Grammar and Compilation

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Luciana Brito Galeria presents for the first time in Brazil the solo exhibition by Raphaël Zarka Grammar and Compilation. The French-born artist is known for exploring the potential of structural forms, driven particularly by a theoretical experimentation on the possibilities of different materials, volume, and geometry. Raphaël Zarka is also extremely familiar with the dynamics of surfaces and the versatility of spaces, which can be attributed to his experience with skateboarding.


Grammar and Compilation brings together a collection of works, mostly never before shown, which summarizes his current artistic poetics: the geometric shapes presented suggest ‘collectionism,’ as practiced by the artist, while the 'grammar' emerges through the combinatorial process present in most of the works on display. This combination, in addition to consolidating outstanding elements of his research (geometry, transposition of elements from painting to sculpture, as well as the building of a body of shapes in the mold of a collection), also demonstrates an unavoidable reference to the studies of The Grammars of Ornament.


The series of sculptures The Prismatics (Les Prismatiques) condenses these characteristics. There are two works in wood, each consisting of solid modules of Jatobá (Hymenaea courbaril) wood. This is the first time that the research involves a typical wood from the country in which it will be presented. For each of the sculptures, the modules are seated differently in order to create specific combinations, alluding to the playful process of dissection puzzles, particularly Tangram, the ancient Chinese puzzle. As for the modules, they were inspired by the shape of the 'wedge' (piece of wood that tapers to a thin edge, used for tightening or adjusting objects, such as a canvas stretcher frame). Les Prismatiques plays with the uniformity of the wood cut and the randomness of its natural cracks. Along with the sculptures, a set of drawings shows other combinations of wooden modules, representing a natural logical continuation of The Prismatics (Les Prismatiques), but employing a different technique. In addition to stressing what we see on display, the drawings demonstrate a tiny fragment of the thousands of possibilities for assembling the modules, using colors and perspectives that hark back to early Italian Renaissance paintings.


The artist works not only the art of both replica and construction, but also deduction with extreme precision. In his works from the series Deduction, Raphaël Zarka extracts forms from plywood boards, alluding to the history of painting, geometric research, and studies on perspective. For him, this is a way of revisiting history and situating himself as an observer and lover of art. The artist also presents a series of black-and-white prints: Invitation Cards. With unavoidable presence in all of his solo exhibitions, the set refers to diferent elements – objects, persons, books, etc – and represents a collection in itself. Each of these works shows combinations of geometric shapes, in addition to highlighting diverse aspects of the sculptures and drawings.


An object of study that is often present in much of Raphaël Zarka’s work, the rhombicuboctahedron (Archimedean solid—or semiregular convex polyhedra— discovered by the Greek physicist) is dealt with in two pieces in the show. In addition to the silkscreen Catalogue Raisonné of the Rhombicuboctahedra, the video Rhombus Sectus (2009) brings a sequence of static shots, with centripetal format, echoing on the Katsushika Hokusai’s illustrations Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (1831–1833), but in the context of the National Library of Belarus, in Minsk, whose building has the shape of an uncanny rhombicuboctahedron.



About Raphaël Zarka

1977, Montpellier, France. Lives and works in Paris, France.


Raphaël Zarka studied fine arts at the Winchester School of Art, in England, and at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, in Paris, France. He has shown in many public and private venues and exhibitions, including the Centre Pompidou and the Palais de Tokyo (both in Paris, France), Performa 11 (New York, USA), Moscow Biennale (Russia), Macro (Rome, Italy), Modern Art Oxford (Oxford, UK), Mercer Union (Toronto, Canada), Projects Arts Centre (Dublin, Ireland), Stroom (Den Haag, The Netherlands), Centre d’Art Contemporain (Saint-Nazaire, France), Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius, Lithuania), Villa Warsaw (Poland), Bischoff/Weiss Gallery (London, GB).

Opening                                               February 26, 2013. Tuesday, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m

Exhibition                                            February 27 through March 23, 2013

Works                                                  22