Joel Shapiro

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For the first time in France, the eminent American sculptor Joel Shapiro will be showing a site specific installation at the impasse Beaubourg. The work was conceived as an “explosion of thought” through architecture: a ballet of wooden elements suspended throughout the space seems to defy the laws of gravity.

This new in situ approach, which he first tried out at Cologne’s Ludwig Museum, sees Joel Shapiro essaying an exploration of the “expressive possibilities of shape and colour within a space’’, immersing the viewer in a dialogue between architecture and form.

Although Joel Shapiro has often addressed the question of equilibrium with his elegant anthropomorphic sculptures, this is the first time he has embarked on a work that reacts explicitly to the constraints of a given space. Every step through the installation reveals unexpected perspectives, reminiscent of the Russian Constructivist art heritage that Joel Shapiro at once espouses and seeks to transgress.

Joel Shapiro was born in 1941. He lives and works in New York. Over 100 solo exhibitions of his work have been held worldwide since the late 1970s, notably at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1982, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1999, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2001 and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne in 2011. In 2005, he was invited to participate in a project at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. His work is present in many international museum collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and MOMA in New York. Shapiro has received over thirty public art commissions for works installed in the USA, Europe and Asia.

  • untitled (end of summer)
  • untitled (end of summer)
  • untitled (end of summer)

The artist

Born in 1941, Joel Shapiro lives and works in New York. A famous minimalist artist renowned for his frequently anthropomorphic monumental bronze sculptures, he endlessly probes the possibilities of line and form in space. The question of balance is always present in his work, playing on the mass, density and properties of materials. His work shows the powerful influence of the Russian constructivists, whose heritage he embraces and transgresses in equal measure.

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