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Tokyo, Japan

Laurent Grasso at Le Forum

Soleil noir

‘Black Sun’ – Laurent Grasso’s first solo exhibition in Japan – is rich in supernatural events and mysterious traditions. Beyond Grasso’s own, uniquely surprising vision of our nearest star, the show creates a parallel universe at Le Forum, Tokyo, mixing plausible reality and science fiction. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Laurent Grasso at Le Forum
© Laurent Grasso / ADAGP

A rider from a Renaissance painting and a Japanese landscape of the Edo period are silhouetted against a golden ground, either side of a black sun: at first sight, the triptych by French artist Laurent Grasso challenges our attempts at dating and attribution. At Le Forum, Tokyo, the work is one of ten enigmatic installations based on Japanese screens and incorporating paintings, neon elements and sculpture. The erudite play on styles and periods is central to Grasso’s work, with its confrontation of East and West, science and mystery, the real and the supernatural. 

Grasso is a virtuoso exponent of the art of strangeness, drawing on the pictorial codes of bygone ages to depict improbable phenomena – an approach he has explored previously in videos and installations. By incorporating this historical stratum into his own work, Grasso disrupts our relationship with time, and with the outlandish phenomena portrayed. Hence, a painting in the manner of a Japanese master 'documents' the discovery of a flying saucer, beside a sculpture of the same spaceship, and a neon sign forming the numbers 1803, the supposed date of the event.      

Drawing on Japanese tradition, the show presents natural catastrophes, forbidden religious cults and supernatural events. It concludes with an immersive video work that transports the spectator to a parallel universe. 

Grasso won the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2008. This new ensemble of works, created especially for the Forum, continues his exploration of memory and history, challenging our certainties and our temporal coordinates.

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Le Forum, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo,                          

Mon-Sat 11:00-20:00 (Last entry 19:30), Sun 11:00-19:00 (Last entry 18:30)

Open daily except 18 November and NewYear’s Holidays, Free admission


Curator at Le Forum : Reiko Setsuda