Parc de la Villette, Paris
March 20 - September 16, 2018
Curator: Jerome Neutres
In the Parc de la Villette’s Prairie du Cercle Nord which surrounds the iconic Geode of the Cite des Sciences et de L’industrie, Will Ryman (American, b.1969) will install Pac-Lab, a series of walls and pathways designed to mimic a videogame maze in large-scale, which visitors can enter and navigate. Ryman hand-sculpted the walls of the maze in clay, creating the effect of a primitive monument; each wall is painted a bold primary color (colors that recall our childhood associations of art-making, as well as the paintings of Piet Mondrian). This negotiation between the fundamental aspects of artistic creation and the influence of history on the artist’s work is a recurring theme for Ryman. While visually playful, Pac-Lab serves as a meditation on our contemporary consumer culture. A monument suitable for our era, Pac-Lab reflects the constant choices and many paths we face daily - whether in a physical space or a virtual reality. Park visitors have the freedom to explore and choose their own journey through the maze.
Surrounding the Place de la Fontaine aux Lions, Ryman will install seven sulfur-yellow sculpted “heads” ranging in height from 305 to 396 cm. Abstract in form, with varying apertures (or eyes), each is purposefully imperfect, similar in appearance to ancient Chinese Scholars’ Rocks. Hand-sculpted in clay, which is then cast in resin, the Heads are titled with lines from Samuel Beckett’s, Waiting for Godot, 1948. Originally written in French then translated into English by Beckett in 1953, the play’s universal and philosophical themes have continued resonance. For Ryman, the sculptures’ titles such as “The Essential Doesn’t Change”, “All Mankind is Us”, “Some Remain So”, and “Blaming the Shoes for the Fault of His Feet”, could also be read as truths regarding the human condition. As the characters in Beckett’s play are waiting for Godot, a symbolic longing for God or spiritual fulfillment, Ryman’s Heads look up to the sky with a similar longing and desire for attachment.
"Heads," 2017, cedar wood, resin, paint, 7 pieces, each approx, 10' x 6' x 6', 205 x 193 x 183 cm.
"Pac-Lab," 2017, foot print dimensions: 4 x 37.5 x 50, 122 x 11.43 x 15.25 m