By bringing together key works from some forty artists of several generations and more than fifteen countries, this exhibition presents a journey of hanging abstract sculpture for almost a century. This specific field opens around 1920 with Alexander Rodchenko, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp then with Alexander Calder or Bruno Munari, and it unfolds until today with Xavier Veilhan, Monika Sosnowska, Tomas Saraceno or Haegue Yang, through Eva Hesse, Soto, François Morellet, Gego, Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt or Robert Morris. If, like the two latter artists, some suspended works remain stable or fixed, many of them echoe the principle of the "mobile," to borrow the term formulated in 1931 by Duchamp himself about certain sculptures of Calder hung on the ceiling by a cable and sensible to the invisible forces of the atmosphere. This type of sculpture literally "above ground" explores the aesthetic potential of the hanging to a ceiling or to cables (on the model of fixing a simple chandelier), without the use of any gallows or other wall fastener.
Although abstract, this particular genre relates to cosmogonic knowlege, to the conquest of air and space, but also to an upside-down perception, to the fear of the void, lightings, hanging, rock climbing, mechanics, forest, Japanese Shibari technique, falling as well as levitation and floating, or any attempts to abolish gravity. If it resonates with these imageries and these universes, the genre nevertheless derogates from the idea of a figuration and a representation as it would limit to the anecdote its wide meaning and its interpretative scope. It also and above all takes distance from a traditional conception of sculpture which would be only a form resting on a ground or a base, subjected to the action of gravity. The spatialized design of these aerial forms makes them gain in transparency, balance, articulation and mobility what they lose in inert mass. This logic stems as much from a renewed relationship with the viewer, the circulation of the gaze through openwork "bodies", exploring in this way their immediate environment, that is to say the space of architecture that welcomes them. The sculpture is no longer erected, like a building, but built on an aerial model, even astral.
By maintaining it at a certain level above the ground, as in levitation, this type of sculpture is extracted from the space of ambulation. This way of negotiating with space and gravity, through a real time and space experience, emphasizes the presence of these celestial objects, as they are the result of a constant tension between fall and elevation.
The exhibition will be held simultaneously in 2018 in three different locations in Paris and London: a/ Galerie Olivier Malingue (London), 1 October – 15 December, 2018 b/ Palais d'Iéna (Paris), 16 – 28 October, 2018