NEW YORK.- A major outdoor work by French artist Laurent Grasso, who has just won the prestigious Prix Marcel Duchamp (awarded yearly to a contemporary artist based in France), is currently on display at New York’s Hunter College. In connection with the college’s to: Night exhibition, the work, entitled Infinite Light, spans the exterior of the pedestrian bridges that connect the main buildings at Hunter College. This marks the first time an art event of such scale has graced the exterior of the college. Infinite Light’s bold presentation acts as a kind of beacon inviting visitors into the galleries.
Infinite Light, a 200-feet long, five-feet tall, blue neon installation is part of a larger art exhibition at the Hunter College Art Galleries which includes works by 40 artists, each of whom explores, in various ways, the multifarious facets of nocturnal life. Joachim Pissarro, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Art Galleries, co-curated to: Night in parallel to the Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.
In the piece, the words "day for night," written in blue neon, are repeated several times across the building. The fluorescent tubes’ bluish tinge is identical to the filters used in movie-making to film scenes by day, generally outdoors, that are supposed to be taking place at night. In filmmaking parlance, the phrase “day for night” refers to the outmoded illusory process of shooting during the day while using filters or a low lens aperture to produce the effect of night. In French, the technique is called nuit Américaine (“American night”), referring to this uniquely American innovation as well as its liberal use in American Westerns, B-movies, and film noir and also refers to the famous film of that name by Francois Truffault.
A former ISCP (International Studio and Curatorial Program) resident, Laurent Grasso won the 2008 Marcel Duchamp Prize this October. The prize will be followed by a presentation of his work at the Modern Art Museum–Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris next June. Laurent Grasso’s works have been exhibited in many prestigious institutions and fairs, including the Palais de Tokyo, the Biennale of Lyon (France), the Busan Biennale (South Korea), the Grey Art Gallery & Swiss Institute (New York, USA), and MIT’s Visual Art Center (Cambridge, USA), University of Southern California Fisher Gallery (Los Angeles).