THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS.- Stroom Den Haag
presents the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of the versatile French artist RaphaŽl Zarka, on view from May 29 through August 21, 2011. "Nature is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." This poetic quote from the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal could refer to the broad spectrum and the continuous character of Zarka's work and the link between his various projects. In addition to sculptures and photographs the exhibition at Stroom features his latest production 'Gibellina Vecchia'. In this short film Zarka meticulously records the monumental artwork Alberto Burri created in the 1980s on the ruins of the Sicilian town of Gibellina, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1968.
RaphaŽl Zarka (1977, Montpellier) is fascinated by forgotten spaces and undefined areas, where objects and buildings are reminders of a once promising future. Often they are the rusty remnants of an industrial past, which have been transformed into modern ruins, or in the words of one of Zarka's inspirers Robert Smithson, 'ruins in reverse.' Zarka appropriates these structures, this cultural heritage, and looks into the formal and functional aspects of each object, its history and its ultimate destination. Thus 'Les Formes du Repos', a work he first started in 2001, consists of a series of photographs in which the objectsan abandoned monorail, a concrete breakwater, tunnel tubes and suchmanifest themselves as 'involuntary' sculptures.
The central work in the exhibition'Gibellina Vecchia'not only shows Zarka as a collector of sculptural forms, but also as an essayist and archivist. This short film records Alberto Burri's artwork 'Il Grande Cretto' from the 1980s: large slabs of concrete commemorating the streets and shapes of the former town of Gibellina. In the film the isolated objects are portrayed as motion at rest, merging together various elements like memory, history and archeology.
The exhibition of the work of RaphaŽl Zarka was earlier on display at CAN - Centre d'Art Neuch‚tel. It is part of a series of presentations at Stroom that also includes exhibitions by Toby Paterson (2007) and Cyprien Gaillard (2009), urban explorers and skateboarders, contemporaries fascinated by the way in which specific processes and powers shape our (urban) environment.