Laurent Grasso Eclipse

Amidst a total solar eclipse, a sliver of sunlight gives shape against a brown coloured sky with a dark shadowy landscape below.

Video still, Laurent Grasso, Eclipse, 2006, DVD Video, 10 minutes, Edition of 5, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2006. Courtesy Galerie chez Valentin, Paris, France.

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Laurent Grasso
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This new video appears to be a beautifully photographed astronomical film of a total solar eclipse at sunset.

From its first moments to the reappearance of the solar disk, the eclipse reveals sublime lights usually hidden in the sun’s glare. If one views this video believing it to be a scientific document, the experience is memorable.

However, Grasso enjoys altering reality using the film director’s bag of tricks, and his work as an artist always reveals mechanisms that mediate reality in modern life. Grasso studied websites that expose false UFO sightings and other miraculous events, such as the visions of Mary at Fatima, Portugal in 1917, which some claim could have been produced by the military using early 20th century technology. Grasso means Eclipse to be seen as the staged semi-miraculous event that it is. In e-mail correspondence earlier this year with LVAC Curator Bill Arning, Grasso describes Eclipse as dealing with “the rumor of the construction of false miracles by the army more than the eclipse itself. I decided to make my own false miracle, mixing a sunset and an eclipse to make something very rare, and a little bit supernatural.”

The lines between gullibility and belief and between joyless suspicion and healthy skepticism are obscure. Grasso’s works play off that edge, seducing and alarming viewers in equal measure.

About the Artist

Laurent Grasso was born in Mulhouse, France in 1972, and lives and works in Paris, France. He has had solo exhibitions at Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, France and Villa Medici, Rome, Italy (2006); Galerie Extraspazio, Rome Italy and Galerie chez Valentin, Paris, France (2005); Cinéma des cineastes and Boutique Agnès b, both in Paris, France; Halle au poisson, Perpignan, France; Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, France; and Galerie Agnès b., Hong Kong (2004).