Inestabilidad. Proposición arquitectural (Instability. Architectural Proposition) is a work that responds to Julio Le Parc’s interest in exploring visual perception phenomena in general and the problems that derive from its instability in particular. In June of 1960, he signed the act that founded the Centre de Recherche d’Art Visuel, by way of which he and a group of young people proposed to modify traditional artistic attitudes and to further their individual investigations by way of group exchange. The group included Latin Americans Hugo Demarco, Horacio García Rossi, Francisco García Miranda, Le Parc and Sergio Moyano, along with Europeans Francisco Sobrino—a Spaniard who had graduated from the Escuela de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón [in Buenos Aires]–, François Molnar, Servanes, François Morellet, Joël Stein and Jean-Pierre Yvaral, who began to carry out kinetic experiences using the name Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV) as well as individually (1).From the earliest works done with the GRAV in Paris, Le Parc sought to move away from the notion of stable and definitive pieces, working with changes generated by the incidence of light and variations originated by an unexpected glimmer or slight vibration provoked by some hanging element. He began to investigate phenomena of instability and immateriality in addition to effects involving light and movement, which he pursued early on through the use of boxes that allowed manual movements that produced transformations in images or color. He soon looked into the possibilities of indirect, grazing light on plane surfaces as well as curved and uneven screens. He was also interested in exploring the variety of situations that can emerge in one single visual experience, and began to make moveable works on the basis of structures that he organized with great simplicity and rigor. In these situations, the changeable visual situation was the result not only of continual movement, but also of the circumstances in which it was presented, where illumination, movement or other surrounding images all played a part. The inclusion of elements external to these works led to chance playing a predominant role as a result. Spectators’ participation would maintain a consistently central place in Le Parc’s poetics, in the form of light stimuli, obstacles and surprises in addition to the direct manipulation of one element or another. Beginning with the work done with the GRAV, he gave priority to plastic propositions that led in the direction of “open” works in which spectators could become active participants. Frank Popper has underlined the fact that in some cases, this would reach a second level, where one spectator becomes a subject observed by other spectators (2).In 1963 the GRAV joined the Nouvelle Tendance-Recherche Continuelle, a group formed by a large number of artists, including Luis Tomasello, Gregorio Vardanega, Hugo Demarco, Enrico Castellani, Hans Haaker, Enzo Mari as well as the Equipo 57 group from Spain and the Italian groups N from Padua and T from Milan. The following year, the members of GRAV presented the La inestabilidad exhibition at the MNBA, where the Buenos Aires public became familiar with Le Parc’s play with glancing light and movement and with the disks and relief pieces with movement, metallic grids and boxes to be manipulated by Sobrino, Stein, Yvaral, Morellet and García Rossi.Popper has pointed out that Le Parc’s use of glancing light began in 1960, and that by 1962 it had derived into work with cylinders and “light-continuums”. In this work, he preferred accentuating the visualization of light in movement, experimenting with light sources situated behind profiles with small orifices (3). Among the earliest works that respond to this system are the works he created for the Laberinto (Labyrinth), presented at the Biennale de Paris in 1963 and the pieces presented in La inestabilidad, which was presented in Paris, Rio de Janeiro and in Buenos Aires at the MNBA in July of 1964.In October of that year, Le Parc was invited to participate in the Premio Internacional del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, where he presented a group of works that included three involving play with light. One of these proposals was precisely Inestabilidad. Proposición arquitectural (1963-64), consisting of a series of eight curved aluminum plates aligned in thirteen parallel and equidistant rows. This system of plates—connected to a motor that set them in motion—allowed rays of glancing light emitted from one side of the structure to pass through, generating projected shadows and changing reflections. These constant variations are what provides the instability that Elena Oliveras has pointed to as the condition that gives underlying coherence to all of Le Parc’s plastic production, though at times it is achieved through movement on the part of the spectator, and at others, by way of real or virtual movement present in the program of the work itself (4). Regarding this type of proposal, it is interesting to point out that Serie luminosa (Luminous Series, inv. 7283) also pertains to the MNBA, donated by the Asociación Amigos del MNBA. This piece functions on the basis of the same principles as Inestabilidad. Proposición Arquitectural, but in this case it was conceived of as an installation for a specific site, and as such it was exhibited in 1965 in the niches of the Museum’s façade, facing Libertador Avenue.Cristina Rossi
1— Later, Demarco, García Miranda, Molnar, Servanes and Moyano separated from the group.
2— Cf. Frank Popper, “Julio Le Parc” in: Luz, espacio, movimiento. Obras de Julio Le Parc, exhib. cat. Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Galerías del Palacio de Bellas Artes, 1968.
3— Popper explains that experiences with oblique lighting were introduced in 1962, and recognized in the exhibition Kunst-Licht-Kunst, held in Eindhoven, Holland, in September, 1966.
4— Cf. Elena Oliveras de Bértola, El arte cinético. El movimiento y la transformación: análisis perceptivo y funcional. Buenos Aires, Nueva Visión, 1973, p. 202.