When Frank Gehry designed Paris’ Fondation Louis Vuitton, he envisioned widespread artistic engagement with the building, explaining to The Guardian, “It doesn’t look finished, purposefully, to encourage people to interact with it over time”. It’s an ambition soon to be realised by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren, whose temporary work ‘Observatory of Light’ will be installed across the building’s famed glass ‘sails’.
Gehry’s audacious design saw 3,600 pieces of glass constitute the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s twelve sails; Buren will cover the glass with coloured filters punctuated by alternating white and blank stripes. Through the manipulation of filters in thirteen different hues, fluid forms and colours will appear within the building, shifting with the time of day and the season. Previously, Buren turned his unique sensibilities to an installation in Gateshead, England, where the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art was enveloped in prismatic light through similar use of filters. As the Fondation Louis Vuitton states, “Through a play of colours, projections, reflections, transparencies and contrasts, both inside and outside, Daniel Buren will show this building in a new light.”
To commemorate the collaboration, a catalogue designed with Buren will assemble a body of works thematically linked by colour, transparency, light, translucency and projection, created between the 1970s and the present. What’s more, BurenCirque – a multidisciplinary project established in the early 2000s by Buren and contemporary circus pioneers Dan and Fabien Demunyck – will set up across from the Fondation, performing new show ‘3 times a Hut’ between 2nd – 4th June 2016. BurenCirque encourages artists to engage with features created by Buren; in ‘3 times a Hut’, artists will interact with a fairground inspired structure comprising three huts, which become translucent lanterns as the sun sets. Children aren’t forgotten, either – a workshop titled ‘The Light Trap’ will allow them to explore the newly kaleidoscopic Fondation.
‘Observatory of Light’ will begin on 11th May 2016, whilst children’s workshops will run between 28th May to 28th August. And who better to summarise the collaboration than Bernard Arnault, president of the Fondation Louis Vuitton? “Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent and enchanting, the result of real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building,” Arnault tell us. “His work responds magnificently to the architecture, in line with his approach, going back to the 1970s, that sees a coming together of colours, transparency and light.”