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Raphaël Zarka I Residency from May to July 2016

Raphaël Zarka was born in 1977 in Monpellier. He lives and works in Paris.

Raphaël Zarka is at once a photographer, sculptor, and video maker. He is also the author of several works about the skateboard.

His work makes reference to science, industry, and philosophy. Always seeking new paths, he collects shapes, is inspired by existing ones, all becoming pretexts to see links between eras, disciplines, practices and ideas.

These shapes can be minimal or geometric. They remain recognizable but isolated in their context. The artist must then make them follow his needs, reposition them in his work. Certain shapes make a link with different places that the artist has visited and explored like an archaeologist and that will be the subject of extremely precise research and documentation. The process and work of Raphaël Zarka is to identify different types of shapes, to assemble them, study them so that they become cultural objects spread out in time and space. Certain elements of these have been thought, built and theorized in past centuries, as in the models of measure and comprehension of the world, weaving a network of mysterious connections between science, art and popular culture.

Thus, Raphaël Zarka assembles the analogies that can exist between the instruments imagined by Galileo to study the movement of bodies in space, the working and action of a skateboard, minimalist sculpture, a screw thread that continues infinitely, Archimedes, or the twisted forms of British chimney stacks from the sixteenth century.

For each chosen shape, the artist makes a series of sculptures that reinterpret it. Thus, the “Prismatiques”, a collection which functions as a repertory of forms in the assembly of thirty-six frame keys in solid wood is massive and imposing and could be likened to totems.

By using replication, the artist shows us several meanings found in the same shape like the play on the collective consciousness that would encompass both twenty-first century urban culture and the humanist inventions of the sixteenth century.

Raphaël Zarka viewed the Atelier Calder as an experimental space, not simply as a studio where one makes art, but the studio as the first space in the experience of sculpture. During his residence, Zarka experimented with and made an ensemble of modular works, the ideas taken from research by the German mathematician and crystallographer Arthur Schönflies (1853 – 1928), which led him to create a series of sculptures in stone. An element of this series was exhibited at the end of his residence during the Atelier visit.

Raphaël Zarka graduated from the national school for Beaux Arts in Paris. His work was recompensed by the Foundation Ricard in 2008, he was a laureate of the Villa Medici in 2010, and he has exhibited in many institutions in France and in Europe. Recently he has had several solo exhibitions: at the Musée Régional d’Art Contemporain Languedoc – Roussillon in Sérignan (2013); les Prismatiques at the Galerie Michel Rein (2012); Archimedes’ Tomb at the Grand Café Centre d’Art Contemporain in Saint Nazaire (2011); Principles of Roman Knowledge at Pastitco de Cerere, Rome (2011); and at the FRAC Alsace, Sélestat (2010). He has also participated in several group shows: More Power at the Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, Holland; With and Without Painting, MACVAL, in Vitry-sur-Seine (2014); the Last Wave at the Friche de la Belle de Mai in Marseille (2013); and the Prix Marcel Duchamp Laureates, the Beaux Arts Museum in Lilbourn (2013).

During the Raphaël Zarka Residence

Solo exhibit at the Musée Saint Croix in Poitiers: Raphaël Zarka, une Création, Manuel de Sculpture Instrumentale (Fondation I) from May 21 to August 28, 2016

The work made during his residence at the Atelier Calder was shown in an exhibition at the Abattoirs, Musée d’Art Modern et Contemporain of Toulouse, then during a solo exhibit at the BPS22
Musée of Art of the Province of Hainault in Charleroi, Belgium, in the spring of 2017.

Raphaël Zarka invited the artist musician Jason Glasser to give a sound performance at the Atelier visit scheduled at the end of his residence:

Jason Glasser (Connecticut, USA, 1968) lives and works in France. He started to exhibit his work around 2000 by a painting installation at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre in New York. He work is present in several French collections, notably at the Abattoirs Musée d’Art Contemporain of Toulouse and the FNAC. His recent projects include scenery for Les Chemins de Patti Smith (the Paths of Patti Smith), a performance by the artist in collaboration with writer Marie Modiano and musician Peter von Poehl, presented at the Paris Philharmonic in 2015. Glasser recently made textile designs for fashion designer Vanessa Seward, and he also recorded a musical collaboration with Sophie Glasser and Etienne de Crecy.


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