Daniel Buren Playfully Updates Gehry’s Design at Fondation Louis Vuitton

The French artist and Gehry go way back.

Daniel BurenObservatory of Light, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Detail. © DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton
Daniel Buren Observatory of Light, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Detail. © DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton

Daniel Buren, Observatory of Light, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Photo: ©DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV), which opened in Paris in October of 2014 to much fanfare, has unveiled a temporary installation by revered French artist, Daniel Buren.

Daniel BurenObservatory of Light, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Detail. © DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton

Daniel Buren, Observatory of Light, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Photo: ©DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton.

In keeping with the rest of his radical oeuvre, as well as the FLV’s commitment to contemporary creation and innovative encounters with its architecture, Buren’s latest work was conceived specifically for the space, context, and features of the host venue.

Developed in close dialogue with the building by Frank Gehry—whom Buren has known for over 40 years—The Observatory of Light is installed across the glass “sails,” the emblematic feature of the building.

Daniel BurenObservatory of Light, work in situ, 2016, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. © DB - ADAGP Paris, 2016 © Manuel Lagos - Cid

Daniel Buren, Observatory of Light, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Photo: © DB – ADAGP Paris, 2016 ©Manuel Lagos – Cid.

Buren’s installation of dyed filters—positioned onto the ten sails and punctuated by alternating black and white perpendicular strips—now presents a kaleidoscopic vision for visitors to the FLV.

The 13 colors of the filters generate forms and colored shapes that appear and disappear, melting into one another and shifting depending on the time of day and the season.

Daniel BurenObservatory of Light, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. © DB - ADAGP Paris, 2016 © Manuel Lagos - Cid

Daniel Buren Observatory of Light, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. Photo: ©DB – ADAGP Paris, 2016 © Manuel Lagos – Cid.

On the exhibition’s press release, Suzanne Pagé, the FLV director, observed that “on some evenings, for example, Gehry’s fish in the restaurant seem to be swimming in the park. It’s a magical effect, a prolongation of the architecture.”

Buren played with and furthered this fluid effect, remarking in conversation with Pagé that it gave the work an atmosphere of “controlled chaos.”

Daniel BurenObservatory of Light, work in situ, 2016 © DB - ADAGP Paris, 2016 © Manuel Lagos - Cid

Daniel Buren Observatory of Light. Photo: © DB – ADAGP Paris, 2016 ©Manuel Lagos – Cid.

Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent, and enchanting, the result of a real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building,” Bernard Arnault, FLV president, said in a statement. “His work responds magnificently to the architecture, in line with his approach, going back to the 1970s, that sees a coming together of colors, transparency, and light.”

Daniel Buren’s “The Observatory of Light ” is on view at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, from May 11, 2016.


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