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Cyprien Gaillard is a contemporary French artist. His work examines with humour the traces man leaves on nature, swinging between minimalism, vandalism, romanticism and Land Art. He uses a wide range of media: sculpture, painting, engraving, photography, video, performance and intervention in public spaces.
UR, his 2012 exhibition at the Pompidou Centre, focused on the destruction and reconstruction of the nearby Paris Halles.
Whether the ruins are ancient or modern, restored or abandoned is all the same to him - his installations try to shake us by confronting us with the endless cycle of construction, destruction and reconstruction proper to mankind and our relationship to history and its vestiges.
In this cycle he has created a composite photogravure using three original plates from the Louvre's collection:
Nature is evoked with "Virgin Forest on the banks of the Rio Bonito, in Brazil" engraved in 1822 by Claude-François Fortier (1775-1835) after a work by Frédéric de Clarac (1777-1847).
The hand of man is represented by "The machines used to raise the two great stones which face the pediment of the main entrance of the Louvre", engraved in 1677 by Sébastien Le Clerc (1637-1714); and "Festivities for the king and queen, given by the city of Paris on 21 January 1782, on the occasion of the birth of the dauphin", engraved in 1781 by Jean-Michel Moreau the Younger (1741-1814).
Printed in the RMN-GP art studio