Leonor Antunes at Air de Paris

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Artist: Leonor Antunes

Exhibition title: Acrotonie

Venue: Air de Paris, Paris, France

Date: February 4 – March 25, 2017

Photography: Marc Domage, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Air de Paris

Acrotony is the tendency of most trees and plants to give nutritional priority to the lateral shoots nearest the apex of the main shoot – to put the emphasis on spiritual nourishment, you might say. It
also provides Leonor Antunes with an opportunity to reflect on the colonisation of plants: not only directly – by other plants – but also by the host of varieties transported by humans. For this, her third exhibition at Air de Paris, the artist has opted for interaction between a selection of species and her new sculptures. The upshot is a discrepancy, an expansion similar to the blow-up process involved in the creation of those sculptures; an enlargement in a different, non-classical sense notably directed at the repetition of a module within a whole, or at the transition to another material – since this particular amplification has a blanket effect on the original dimensions and materials which renders the initial motif unrecognisable. Alternating wood, rope and metal tubing, the works’ contours are lifted from «functional» forms: buildings and furniture emblematic of a modern movement.

Here we recognise only an evocation of the lines of this design heritage, and this in turn focuses the eye more closely on its – now disembodied – functional state. Is it actually possible to create a
totally new object, emancipated of all context and of any generic history of its own? This is one of the questions inherent in the discovery of the Antunes oeuvre, a large part of which is titled «Discrepancies with». This title is at once a summons to some of modernism’s players and a reminder of our connection with tradition and established practices. Thus not only the objects but also the plants making up and dominating our environment are above all bearers of a history, a culture: that of a possibility, or even of an avant-garde.

This third Air de Paris show, then, harks back to pioneers like Sergio Rodrigues, considered the father of Brazilian design; the Milan-based Italian Rationalists Franca Helg & Franco Albini, the latter being one of the first architects to work with a woman in his studio; and Charlotte Perriand. «Acrotony» invites us into a space divided into two separate parts by a net screen. This static shot reproduces a component, co-signed by Perriand, of the «Bachelor House», a temporary space emanating powerful political convictions that was created for the Exposition Universelle – the World’s Fair – in Brussels in 1935. Here it is called upon as a unit of measurement providing a grid of proportions as in the squaring-up procedure invented by Alberti during the Renaissance. And this same visual filter confronts us when we enter the exhibition.

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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Leonor Antunes, Acrotonie, 2017, installation view, Air de Paris

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