"From optical art, all we’ve kept is the feeling of vertigo, the mechanisms that lead to a state close to being slightly drunk, challenging the reliability of the eyes. Optical art, like geometry in general, has a series of associations linked to psychedelia, drugs and, by extension, beatitude and fascination. The obvious is irrational. And this toing and froing between scientific control and mystical vertigo intrigues us." (1)
Palais de Tokyo is presenting the first large-scale monographic show of Florian and Michael Quistrebert (born in Nantes in 1982 and 1976, live in Paris and Amsterdam). This duo of brothers, nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2014, is producing a set of new works for this occasion. Mingling colours, light, mass and illusions, the Quistreberts play with visitors’ minds and visions, drawing perceptions toward other dimensions.
Invited to occupy a space measuring 1000 m2 in Palais de Tokyo, they are putting on an eclectic piece of optical theatre in which lights, videos and paintings lead the visitors, all while experiencing erratic disturbances by the shine and internal motions of various objects.
In their pieces, they summon the ghosts of Malevich, De Staël, Picasso, (Hans) Richter and Fischinger, amongst others, while going back over the main themes of modern art, using contemporary, experimental techniques, in association with their particularly personal approach to materials. Their paintings, like their videos, explore the effects of light and shade which are both seductive yet at times, hypnotising and repulsive.
The fifty-odd painted pieces produced for the exhibition, pivot and turn around themselves, as though moving under their own impulse. Working on large formats, mostly constructed from a burlap base, their iridescently coloured surfaces were worked over with a melange of modelling clay, lacquer paint for cars, and sometimes decked with tiny coloured LEDs. The paintings both allure and confound, thanks to their shiny sparkling finishes, the way they reflect their surroundings and their slow, mechanical rotation. Likely to tip the spectator’s sensory markers and balance, the presentation concludes with an immense, confrontational, trance-inducing video piece placed at the end of the gallery.