while modern art dialogues with theology

Laurent Grasso presents a collection of paintings and sculptures around his new film Anima for carte blanche at the Collège Bernardin. Olric de Gélis, PhD and director of the College’s research center, emphasizes the shift in perspective that these works invite.

This exhibition is at the intersection of scientific, spiritual and artistic approaches that guide the research work of the department. Laudato si’. For a new discovery of the earthIt was established in 2021 at the initiative of Bernardin College. Its director, Doctor of Theology Olric de Gélis, analyzes the displacement of views and the change of perspective that Laurent Grasso invites us to due to the size of his installations and the abundance of his works. , the elegance of his work and the impact of the temporal climb he subjects us to better see the unseen.


The art of being seen

In Grasso’s work, the eye stands out as a methodological motif. The Panopticaltrees whose branches are visible to the human eye bear fruit de facto an odd question: is it about seeing or consenting to be seen? We cannot answer a priori, but we can speculate. Perhaps it is always about seeing as human, but first consenting to be seen by others other than human: a tree, a stone, or a fox, with their singular and visible inner appearances, or all of these at the same time. Perhaps these cross-optical games are about finally finding a common perspective on Earth and its terrestrial creatures. We call this perspective, in which each being brings his own point of view and is sure of the honor done to him by the community of others, that no being dies without being mourned by his peers.” unity perspective “.

Laurent Grasso, Panoptes2021, bronze, 65 x 50 x 11 cm.
Photo studio Laurent Grasso
© Laurent Grasso / ADAGP, Paris, 2022
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotti

open our eyes

Seeing while looking like this is a whole program. For example, it is written in the biblical psalms: They have eyes and do not see “. This complaint of the book and its author is aimed at those unfortunate, sealed, albeit open, unfortunate eyes that can no longer see, can no longer see, have forgotten that they are seen. It is interesting that the forest of the film Anima Laurent Grasso covers the slopes of this mountain in Alsace, where Saint Odile is venerated. According to legend, this virgin from the late 7th century was miraculously cured of blindness; he is represented holding the Book in his hand, his two eyes open, reflecting the evangelical benevolence in which his hope for recovery is expressed: “ Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! To finally open after closing, to observe lovingly and in the very opening, to honor all who open our gaze and question: this we will be allowed to hope for.

Laurent Grasso, Anima, film HR (in progress) © Laurent Grasso / ADAGP, Paris, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and Perrotti

Laurent Grasso, Anima, movie HR (in progress), 2022, details. © Laurent Grasso / ADAGP, Paris, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Agree to understand

Let us further question the devices of such a view. The poet William Blake offered on this subject: If the organs of perception change / the objects of perception look different / the organs of perception are closed / their objects are also closed » (JerusalemII, 30 [34a]). Following Blake, one might question the role of science and technology in Laurent Grasso’s work as an extension of our senses and observational capacities, whereby multiple entities and agencies reappear in the common habitat. We must also ask ourselves what role these other sometimes baroque sensors play, looking for stones and places to fill the world with these currents and energies that the modern eye cannot see.

Laurent Grasso, Studies on the Past, Oil on Wood.  Photo by Claire Dorn © Laurent Grasso / ADAGP, Paris, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Laurent Grasso, Studies into the Past, 2022, oil on wood, detail. Photo by Claire Dorn © Laurent Grasso / ADAGP, Paris, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

But has perception and observation expanded even further, even though it has expanded so much? We recall the impatience felt by nineteenth-century romantics with the narrowness of Kant’s philosophy. It wanted to present everything to our faculties in the giddiness of the Copernican revolution. But, Herders or Thoreaus, the Earth exceeds these faculties and satiates them; and we are pleased to add that he does not expect his change to reform or improve. Although the critical reason of science or the pure reason of morality is necessary to see this Earth, something more is required. To see this, you first need to immerse yourself in water and the change in scale that this implies: you have to allow yourself to be submerged. Otherwise, there will be no way to gain this vision that sees by being seen.

Laurent Grasso, Anima, film HR (in progress) © Laurent Grasso / ADAGP, Paris, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and Perrotti

Laurent Grasso, Animafilm HR (in progress), 2022. © Laurent Grasso / ADAGP, Paris, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and Perrotti

It works as a mediator of change of perspective

However, this immersion and this change of scale is still what we encounter with Laurent Grasso – for the size of his installations, the abundance of his works, the subtlety of his work, without forgetting the effect of this temporal flutter, which he masterfully does. belongs to us. All this contributes to the change of view, the invention of this new perspectivism, the concept of which needs to be explored in more detail, but which already implies the rejection of modern anthropocentrism. I would like to end this reflection by recalling a great saying of the great theologian Thomas Aquinas: faith Manu ductsaid, that is to control by hand “. Faith is, of course, an invisible vision, the gaining of sight that welcomes the hitherto hidden fortress, as the Bible repeatedly repeats; but it is also a kind of vision that can only be obtained by allowing oneself to drive by hand “. Here is the analogy that life is used to when it wants to take us further: for how can Grosso’s work not be counted among those tools that can be carried by hand to see more and better?

Posted in Art

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *