Art Paris 2017 (March 30th- April 2nd, 2017) will feature Belgian artist Bardula at Galerie La Ligne
Essay by Eva Zanardi
Bardula: Fiat Lux (“Let There Be Light”)
The intangibility of light and the hypnotizing way Bardula negotiates such phenomenon are the focal point of her spellbinding works. The Belgian artist’s orderly installations and meditative mandalas of brightness distill light out of the shadows.
In her work, darkness is the starting point and serves as the anchor that holds her hypnotic 3D illusions in place. At the intersection of endless void and an effervescent interstellar nebula, the artist’s multiplied perspective-bending tableaus accompany the viewer behind the proverbial “looking glass” by creating an illusory infinite plunge into darkness guided by soothing, reassuring light. In Buddhist iconography the glowing, pure lotus pierces murky, black waters to symbolize enlightenment and rebirth; such is the feeling the viewer experiences when plunging into the artist’s luminous landscapes. The artwork creates the impression of emerging from the depths of chaos into a perfect, atmospheric aura.
In its many changing forms, light inspires—and provides flexibility to those who wish to use it metaphorically. The use of light in art spawned movements and manifested itself in multiple forms. From Caravaggio to James Turrell, from Paolo Scirpa to Olafur Eliasson, artists chose light as a medium to shift the paradigm of experiencing an artwork. Light’s universality is what makes it compelling, as Goethe once said: “Art is nothing but the light of nature”. Throughout centuries, artists have captured light to manipulate it as both subject and medium.
In harnessing light, Bardula’s work examines the basis of a mathematical, geometric framework, the relationship between color, form, light reflection, and volume presented in 3D. With a particular interest in perception and spatial experience, Bardula’s illuminated sculptures challenge our prescriptions of knowledge, control, and what it means to be human in an age of technology.
The artist’s exquisite radiant topographies mesmerize. With “Solaris” 2016, a monumental kinetic light installation in the entrance of the Moncler flagship store in Manhattan, the artist created a spatial suspension of disbelief, encouraging an analysis of our relationship with the metaphysical in a world increasingly governed by practical, rational and scientific principles.
By confronting the viewer with the seemingly impossible phenomenon of bending light, “Solaris” creates a space for contemplation and introspection, suggesting a synthesis between agnostic reason and intuitive belief. Bardula explains: “‘Solaris’ represents the center of our immediate universe – the solar system – and takes the visitor to the heart of the ultimate star: the sun. The individual enters the center of the world, where radiates the golden light. The space opens up in response to the visitor, immersing him or her in a volume distorted by a mysterious force – his or her own.”
The Paris based artist’s mastery in sculpting with light is tightly connected with her past: she began her career at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, and later spent 10 years in New York creating silver commissions for collectors and jewelry for the Museum of Modern Art’s Design Shop. After her relocation to Paris, her metalwork became increasingly abstract and mainly consisted of installations for private collections.
By combining her expertise in shaping metals to create glittering 3D structures and her skills in etching and photography, Bardula harnesses matter and light to investigate the correlation between 2D, 3D and their projection in time, 4D. Her labor intensive light installations and light sculptures are obtained by extricating 3D digital geometrical algorithms through LED-technology and then multiplied to infinity.
The artist clearly draws inspiration from the cosmos immutable perfection. By analyzing, disassembling and reassembling the laws of physics and mathematics (in particular geometry), the artist gazes into the crystalline order of the universe, the “many interacting worlds” of Quantum mechanics.
When admiring Bardula’s ‘finite’ mesmerizing tableaus the viewer will actually get a glimpse of the infinite.
BARDULA is a pseudonym, created by a Belgian artist born in Zürich and based in Brussels until 1993, New York until 2002, and Paris ever since. Her training as a gold- and silversmith would instil an instructional technique and choice of medium, metal, that would subsequently evolve over the years by way of an autodidactic approach. The hybrid nature of her work, which has emerged in time, places it at the point at which light sculpture, architecture and gold- and silversmithing meet. It is an autonomous creation, in which technique, materials and relationships of scale strive to present an internal vision in concrete form, according to a mathematical schematization of space by geometric construction. At all times, emphasis is placed on matter itself, on the molecular purity of metal combined with the geometric purity of the straight line and the symmetrical and orthogonal form, as well as its symbiotic relationship with light. The latter is a medium in its own right, forming a component of works and creating volumes. The interdependence of light and matter is evident in the technology, concept and form of the work. Technically, in the development of the construction using laser – a quantum light, in the concept of propagatory movements arising from the undulatory nature of light, and, formally, with light serving as a graphic and spatial component, visible and intangible. Since 2012, Bardula has collaborated with an architect and scenographer whom she met in Paris shortly after her return from New York in 2002. With a degree in architecture from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, it was his attraction to scenographic 3D modelling and light that would lead, following a stint at Ora-ïto, to the gradual coincidence of his world with that of Bardula, giving birth to a conceptual and technological symbiosis. Bardula’s recent work is the result of the union and collaboration of two artists, a gold- and silversmith and an architect. Bardula’s work is designed and produced at her studio in the south of Paris. The latests projects are a series of light installation commissioned by the Baccarat Hotel New York, architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in collaboration with Parisian interior designers Gilles & Boissier, 20 West 53rd street NYC, opened during the Spring of 2015; the historical exhibition Art Cinétique/Light Show at Piasa rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré Paris 8 with works from Vasarely, Le Parc, Cruz-Diez, Morellet, Yvaral, Vardanega, … in November 2015; and a solo exhibition at the KKDC galerie, architect Joseph Dirand passage Dauphine Paris 6, from September 2015 to January 2016.
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