Philippe Rahm — Rémanence Chlorophyllienne


Architecture, urban art, installation, sculpture

Philippe Rahm
Rémanence Chlorophyllienne

Past: October 22 → November 20, 2013

“Imagination is the analysis, it is the synthesis… it breaks down all creation and, with the materials collected and arranged according to rules whose origin you can find only in the depths of the soul, it creates a new world, it produces the sensation of new.“

Baudelaire, Salon 1859, in Beyond Romanticism. Writings on Art.

Modern art theorized the notions of dissociation, decomposition, analysis (as in chemical) and synthesis (artificial), all of which are methods and processes which originate in scientific culture. Since scientific advancement in the fields of chemistry, physics and biology that began in the nineteenth century, the status of artwork has changed. The goal of art is no longer to represent the real — to imitate or deal with it — but rather to decompose, disintegrate and fracture it into a multitude of microscopic particles of colors, sounds and words, atomized and displaced from their whole. Reality is no longer a visible and tactile macroscopic block: instead, it expands itself, diffracts and opens to the infinitely small and invisible. This method was initially brought about by Impressionist painters, and in particular by Monet, but also in music by Debussy and in literature by Malarmé.

For them, art disintegrates the “whole” into elementary particles, diffusing reality in points of color or in fragments of sounds and words. In the 1950s, the “New Novel” by Alain Robbe-Grillet and Nathalie Sarraute proceded with a similar deconstruction of literary language in which the narrative is devoid of any psychological intention in order to become pure sensation, literal and objective descriptions of the world, lacking any unifying subjective intention. More recently, the spectral music of Gérard Grisey or Tristan Murail does not compose anymore, but decomposes, or rather, « poses » sound through a kind of disintegration, reducing instruments to their spectral components, and then often recomposes them, or rather synthesizes new aggregates from these elements. Separating the real, breaking the clichés to recompose in another way, in a different order, are necessary moments in the reformation and the evolution of forms of art, of societies and of techniques.

Our architectural work is part of this “tradition.” It operates through a chemical dissociation of the space in elementary particles — wavelengths, humidity, light intensity, or heat transfer coefficient, but also through hormonal secretion level, kilocalories and nanometers. The enlargement of the field of the real produced by scientific knowledge modifies the field of art, which shifts into new dimensions, slides into other phenomena and solicits other perceptions. We are interested now in forms which are no more composed together to create a “whole as gestalt.” We are interested in forms which are dissociated, exploded into fragments of reality, into sensible particles. Chlorophyllous remanence operates by breaking down the real, but not the real perceived by our human physiology (that is apprehended by our five senses, in a visual spectrum between 380 nanometers and 780 nanometers), but in a real of the plant, its physiology reduced to the electromagnetic spectra of photosynthesis, to different wavelengths of their pigments.

The leisure experience of the garden or city park is based upon the principle of spatial and temporal exoticism, an immediate change of scenery, an instantaneous journey into other latitudes, other altitudes or other eras. To create a garden is traditionally to produce spatially geographic and temporal shifts through which we can travel at once into other climates or other times all the while remaining in the city. The history of garden is an almagamation of these exotic physical forms, a careful sequencing of constructed slips which allow an inhabitant of the city to change his or her atmosphere: orange groves, Mexican or Australian greenhouses, Lebanese cedars, Chinese pavilions, pagodas as latitude slips; alpine gardens as altitude displacement; caves, dolmen, Greek temples, or Stegosaurus gardens as time journeys.

Our proposal is to create a new object as a form of garden furniture that can produce the shade of a tree in the spring all year long. Physically, the shade in spring is so particular and inviting, a light to which one comes for protection in the afternoon if the sunlight is too intense or to enjoy the dim light, tinged green and sprayed by the multitude tender green leaves, just as the buds bloom, on which is bouncing sunlight for some of its electromagnetic spectrum only, the others being absorbed by the pigments of the leaf. In order to acheive this, we have analyzed pigment by pigment those wavelengths absorbed by a spring tree leaf and those permitted to pass to the ground as light as that has not been absorbed by the leaves during photosynthesis. This reflected light is what produces the springtime light under a tree. The absorption ratio between the different pigments Chlorophyll A, Chlorophyll B, betacyanins, anthocyanins, lycopene, β-Carotene, Lutein is reconstructed.

Sunlight will be filtered through our device, projected onto the ground all year long, recreating the particular green light that is created by a tree in spring. It will appear different from an autumnal tree light when the chlorophyll A and B are decreased in favor of anthocyanin and carotene, thus producing a reddish hue color underneath. Our project thus creates a kind of perpetual spring and allows light to live throughout the year the shade of a tree in the spring. Our project is therefore based upon the electromagnetic disintegration of a tree into the wavelengths absorbed by leaf pigments due to photosynthesis — chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, anthocyanin, betacyanin, carotene, lutein, lycopene — as they would appear in the spring. The visible spectrum of the white light is broken into different wavelengths, of which we remove fourteen that correspond precisely to the range of light absorption of plant pigments.

FIAC HORS LES MURS — Installation, Berges de Seine Rive Gauche, Parvis Pont Alexandre III : 22 octobre to 20 novembre.
GALERIE DOMINIQUE FIAT — Project presentation : 22 octobre to 2 novembre.

Philippe Rahm
  • FIAC Hors les Murs Event October 22 → November 20, 2013

    Installation, Berges de Seine Rive Gauche-Parvis Pont Alexandre III

Dominique Fiat Gallery Gallery
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16, rue des Coutures-Saint-Gervais

75003 Paris

T. 01 40 29 98 80 — F. 01 40 29 07 19

Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

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The artist

  • Philippe Rahm