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FRANÇOIS MORELLET « πpicturaux : πpiquant et πrococo »

From 23 January to 14 March 1999

The project that François Morellet has devised for the CCC of Tours, in partership with the Städtisches Museum Schloß Morsbroich in Leverkusen, near Düsseldorf in Germany is surprisingly complete. The programme ‘πpicturaux: πpiquant et πrococo’ includes an urban version and an exhibition. Wordplay crossed with scientific rigour, which itself is determined by the pure luck of the decimal places of pi (π). This project has already been chosen for the website of the Ministry of Culture, and in doing so gains an international dimension which manages to reconcile the permanent and the transient.

So this is the starting point for ‘πpicturaux’: π=3.141592653589… Starting with a straight segment 1 metre long– which defines one of the possible units for this piece- each decimal place of pi is translated by an angle shown in degrees. For each straight segment, a curved neon segment matches it. Thus is built a grid onto which are attached luminous arcs, blue neon tubes. The curves, neon lights and painted surfaces are called ‘πrococo’. Designs and right angles which are computer-generated are termed ‘πspicy’, and the entire collection has the generic title ‘πpicturaux’ bringing together the computerised grid and the light and flaring protrusions.

The CCC’s exhibition space plays host to several series of painted canvasses which on different scales represent the grid for the design ‘πspicy’ in which every direction is given a material form by a straight line extending to the edges of the canvas. As they go extend beyond the frame, they form a network of potentially infinite lines, and on these are placed the curves of ‘πrococo’. Two protrusions of neon tubes, one red and one blue, are the physical version of ‘πpicturaux’. They mirror two drawings on the wall which are mounted on the picture rails of the exhibition space and are in a sense a sketch of the project.