Richard Nonas
Exhibition view

Richard Nonas "(PARENTHESIS); (corner to corner, in place)"

17.10.2019 - 23.11.2019

Main space



A clogged and formal place. A tight urban world wrapped in history, cut by long lined of woods and stones. Lines that mark both the strong emotional edge of a ceremonial place and also the raw edge and necessarily downward slope of its complex meaning, its dirt-floor shift-and-slide back to old political ground, ongoing tension and ancient skew. For sculpture is that spacial gap-between, that Col between moutain peaks. Sculpture is that implied absence, that almost-clarity about not-quiet-confusion. Sculpture is that dissonance. The dissonance, I mean, of intersecting and conflicting chunks of human meaning cut into an historicized world. The dissonance, that is to say, of art.

With this first solo exhibition, the Christophe Gaillard Gallery is pleased to announce its new collaboration with American sculptor Richard Nonas.

Born in 1936 in New York, Richard Nonas was an anthropologist, for over a decade, living among the native Indian peoples of Canada, North America, and Mexico. He taught at the University of North Carolina and at Queens College in New York. He abandoned anthropology in the late 1960?s to devote himself to sculpture.

Richard Nonas has exhibited worldwide, building indoor and outdoor artworks for public and private spaces. These sculptures are now preserved within the most prestigious collections in the world.

His background and anthropologist?s eye influence his artworks and his many writings. In the latter, Richard Nonas defines what he calls the cultural utilisation of sculpture. He considers the role, the special power, and the limits of this art form, its intellectual and emotional significations, its relationship to both space and place.

In his book 'Get out / Stay away / Come back' Nonas says:

?I place each sculpturet o acknowledge the historical presence and meaning of the particular place which my sculpture will then destroy. I place it specifically to change one place into another place containing only the memory, the ghost - of the first and very different place. I place it to create a place that was unthinkable before my sculpture was set there. I place it to actively cut back the given world; to prune and prime it, to add to it, and change it - as all world and nature is constantly cut, changed and primed by culture.

I site each sculpture to re-open, then close the part of the world it?sput into. I site it to conjure into human existence an actual new history. I place it to acknowledge the very possibility of history in a world that slips away.? 1

Richard Nonas uses sculpture to think about both the space itself and what shapes our physical and mental perception of it. He wants to create places (he challenges the term ?installation?) that have the power to question and move us, to transform ourview of all the places we live in and move around in. In natural sites or exhibition rooms, the elements that make up his minimalist arrangements ? the wooden beams, blocks of granite or steel arranged according to simple and repetitive designs ? mark the territory in which they are situated, punctuating the space, interrupting and refreshing it.


For this first exhibition at the Christophe Gaillard Gallery, Richard Nonas designed two large sculptures that occupy the gallery?s two spaces. After arriving in Paris with an initial protocol and drawing up several potential projects, the artist determined the position of the wooden and granite modules during the installation period for the exhibition, thus completing the work in situ. In conversation with a selection of other sculptures and artworks on paper presented on the walls of the gallery, the sculptor reinvents the space, playing with the rhythm of these modular lines, their voids, and the interstices that they open up.

This exhibition was devised inc ollaboration with the Fergus McCaffrey (NewYork) and Bruno Mory (Besanceuil) galleries.


[1] Richard Nonas, Get out / Stay away / Come back,Paris, Les presses du réel, Ecrits d?artistes, 1995, pp. 16-17.

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