Transformation Instable

15/11 > 18/01 2020
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view




The Galerie Mitterrand is pleased to present a new exhibition by Spanish artist Francisco Sobrino. Entitled Transformation Instable, it takes place from 15 November 2019 to 18 January 2020 and brings together a selection of works from the eponymously titled series, and from Structures permutationnelles, resulting from the former.


Our exhibition is part of an ensemble of events devoted to Francisco Sobrino in the latter part of 2019. The artist is the subject of a large retrospective at the Espace de l’Art Concret beginning on 7 December and of a new monograph published by Editions Dilecta, set for release in late November.

Francisco Sobrino is a Spanish artist who played an iconic role in terms of kinetic art. Born in 1932 in Spain, he moved to Argentina in 1946, where he studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires. In 1959, he settled in Paris and founded GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel) the following year with Julio Le Parc, François Morellet, Joël Stein, Yvaral and Horacio García Rossi. He then embarked on a career as a sculptor based on the two-dimensional research that he had explored up until then via the media of paper, cardboard and canvas. Sobrino turned his attention to the visual properties of the innovative materials of his time, such as methacrylate, Plexiglas and mirror-polished stainless steel. Although Francisco Sobrino’s work is multiple from a visual or plastic perspective, it is guided by the same desire to maximize the interaction between the works, their environment and/or the spectator. Art historian Matthieu Poirier wrote about the artist in 2017: “Sobrino’s art is (…) both concrete and perceptual, kinetic and minimalist, detached from narration so as to obtain the most perfect silence, the most perfect immediacy of the sensory vibration.”

For this new exhibition devoted to Francisco Sobrino, the Galerie Mitterrand has decided to focus on the Transformations Instables—made from smoked transparent Plexiglas—and Structures permutationnelles—their mirror-polished steel counterpart—, which he developed from the early 1960s onward. In these pieces, he created structures based on simple geometric forms, where by means of superposition and juxtaposition, other forms were born.  This typology of work, emblematic of Sobrino’s artistic production, gives prominence to a game between the space, the light and the movements of the spectator. Their aim is to create a visual instability on behalf of the viewer by blurring the boundaries between the artwork and its immediate environment.

Francisco Sobrino was born in 1932 in Guadalajara, Spain and died on 10 May 2014 in Bernay, France. In 2015, the Francisco Sobrino Museum opened its doors in his hometown, based on the initiative of the local authorities. His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions and museums, notably Dynamo at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2013. It also features in many large international collections: Tate, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.