THE CATHEDRAL OF MONET
The Hope of Modernity
Since 2015 in Rouen
Quai de Boisguilbert
76 000 Rouen (France)
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Yadegar Asisi depicts the advances made in painting during the Impressionist era. He drew inspiration from Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series, which was painted between 1892 and 1894.
Asisi started by painting the cathedral square and its surrounding houses as they looked during the Belle Époque period. He then created the Impressionist-style panorama. Made entirely using oil painting techniques, Asisi uses bold dots and linear brush strokes that explode with colour, he traces the light as it falls on the scene and highlights the shadows as they are cast across the cathedral’s stone exterior and surrounding houses. This is a piece that combines dazzling sunlight, Stygian shadows, sculptured, pastose forms and two-dimensional surfaces. The scenery contains nods to contemporary artists who lived at the same time as Monet – both those who were inspired by him and those who criticised the new style. After the panorama was completed, the work was digitalised, magnified and printed on roles of fabric.
The accompanying exhibition is the gateway to a discussion of the period. The civil movement and technical innovations that resulted from this period – including oil paints in tubes and pre-produced canvases – fuelled debate and paved the way for new ideas and work practices. Watercolour paintings and sketches, as well as photos from the workshop, document the artistic process.
A filmed conversation with art theorist Bazon Brock reveals how Asisi’s ideas on time and place intertwine and touches on their relevance to today.
How did Yadegar Asisi come up with the idea of painting a panorama of the Impressionist era? The exhibition magazine and a 40-minute documentary provide insight into the background of the monumental work and show its creation and the artistic approach.
From the pilot project EVEREST onwards, Yadegar Asisi is collaborating with the well-known composer and pianist Eric Babak. In close collaboration between the two artists, the impressive soundscape of the panoramas is harmonized directly in the exhibition space with the lighting patterns to create an atmospheric overall installation. Depending on the project, the productions use, among other things, large orchestras and choirs, but also minimalist synthesizer sounds in combination with everyday noises to make the special atmosphere of the themes audible and tangible in the constant change of panorama sequences.