john grade: la chasse galerie ateliers l’h du siège, valenciennes, france january 8th to february 19th, 2011

‘la chasse’ by john grade, valenciennes, france images courtesy of john grade

artist john grade has recently completed a three month grande residency with galerie ateliers l’h du siège in france, wrapping it up with an exposition entitled ‘la chasse’. on show from january 8th to february 19, 2011, the works are presented in an exhibition of four parts: an preliminary installation in the forest ‘scarpe-escaute’, a second installation at gallery l’h du siège, a body of drawings and a video installation.

the forest installation remained in a grove for one month and was often damaged by wild boar. each day grade would repair the damage and continue to expand the skeletal wood and string structures. the rectilinear framework is scaled equally to the dimensions of the main gallery at ‘l’h du siège’, measuring  roughly 100 feet x 30 feet. inside the gallery is a sculpture born from the form and documentation of the piece constructed in the forest, the exterior skin primarily composed of mine tailings, reacting to the history of coal mining in northern france.

tackling the world’s physical nature through sculpture, making it a focal point for the effects of materials, movement and light, measuring the density and the intensity of the existence’s framework, thinking of sculpture itself as a body, john grade puts the anatomy of many things – elements, animal, architecture, landscape and imagination – at the core of his work.

john grade: la chasse outside in scarpe-escaute ‘walls’ of the gallery

for this exhibition the typical process of a sculpture being viewed first inside and then out was reversed, with the transformation between landscape and object, integration and disintegration, first taking place in the forest. over the course of a month, the work was affected by rain, wind and animals. inside the gallery the structure is shown in full, influenced by its previous incarnation outside. connecting the two elements is the experience that took place elsewhere: grade moved an architectural framework into the landscape, placing the structure of a built space in the forest. this ‘confronted space’ mimics the plan of the interior gallery in the middle of the forest, producing a layered environment of the various structures.

john grade: la chasse outside in scarpe-escaute

john grade: la chasse outside in scarpe-escaute

the sculpture, the sculptor and the representation of the gallery space absorb the forest’s atmosphere – currently dedicated to hunting but previously dedicated to warcraft – experiencing its reality and being marked by accidents caused by man and nature. day after day, whatever the work or condition, the artist recorded the materiality of his territory capturing the sounds, images and inspecting the damage.

john grade: la chasse outside in scarpe-escaute overall ‘plan’

john grade: la chasse outside in scarpe-escaute detail

the work on display in the gallery is not a recreation of the outdoor experience, or about describing it, reporting or documenting it, but about shifting its reality, transferring it to the gallery space in order to highlight its ‘thing-ness’ again. the object transforms into form in a new state, one that can now be experienced by the viewer. through the construction along with corresponding images and drawings, the artist exhibits various states of the sculpture in which the ambience, physical density, materiality, light and other sensorial dimensions override the shape’s outline and integrity.

john grade: la chasse inside gallery l’h du siège side view

john grade: la chasse inside gallery l’h du siège

john grade: la chasse inside gallery l’h du siège

LA CHASSE (the hunt) from John Grade on Vimeo.