From the late 1950s, many artists put into practice new approaches to the relationship with the viewer-visitor. From an egocentred posture, which conveyed their feeling in plastic terms, they moved on to propositions of the “allocentred” type, in which the perception of the world was then as it were given to be shared, following a process whereby the “self” and the other blended together, making room for the emergence of the experience per se. So it is important that the Space Brain Laboratory (Station 1) should decode and re-examine these past artistic approaches in the light of contemporary artistic practices.

Above and beyond the visual effects of optical kinetic art, the often three-dimensional works summoned here have generated a new relation to space through their immersive dimension, the introduction of light and movement as raw materials, and also inducing hypnotic or “waking dream” effects (appliances of Nicolas Schöffer, Brion Gysin…). In an apparently more metaphysical mode and following on from Lucio Fontana, James Turrell also undertakes the conquest of the infinite, decreeing perception to be a medium in itself.

Works under study

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation red and blue, 1965.
Wood, laminate, plexiglas, metal, fluorescent tubes.
Collection Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon © Blaise Adilon

Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale, 1967. 
Black tempera on canvas, aluminium frame with chamfered edges, fluorescent painting, black light bulb.
Collection Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon. © Blaise Adilon

Anthony McCallConical Solid, 1974.
Installation. 16 mm film, 10' loop, fog machine. 
Courtesy the artiste © Blaise Adilon

Julio Le ParcContinuel-lumière cylindre, 1962.
Plywood box, disc ringed with a steel strip, metallic camshaft.
Collection Mac/Val, musée d'art contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine © Blaise Adilon

Julio Le ParcContinuel-lumière avec formes en contorsion, 1966.
Plywood box, aluminium panels, 2 silver flexible PVC tapes, electric motors, 2 bulbs.
Collection Mac/Val, musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine © Blaise Adilon

Paul SharitsN:O:T:H:I:N:G, 1968
16 mm film converted to digital, colors, sound. 
Diffusion RE:VOIR, Paris © Blaise Adilon

François MorelletBoîte à flash, 1964.
Bulbs, metal, plexiglas, electronic flash. 
Courtesy the artist © Blaise Adilon


Ann Veronica Janssens, prototype of colored mist.
View of the container housing the Cabinet en croissance, 1991-2009.
© Blaise Adilon

Ann Veronica JanssensCabinet en croissance, 1991-2009.
View inside the container.
© Blaise Adilon


Elisa Brune 
writer (novelist and essayist) and science journalist
Denis Cerclet
anthropologist, lecturer at Université Lumière - Lyon 2
Arnauld Pierre
art historian, professor at Université Paris IV - Sorbonne
Jean-Louis Poitevin
doctor in philsophy, writer and art critic

Works under study

Presentation of selected works from the 50s-70s:
Carlos Cruz-Diez, Lucio Fontana, Julio Le Parc, Anthony McCall, François Morellet, Nam June Paik, Paul Sharits, Nicolas Schöffer, James Turrell.


Ann Veronica JanssensCabinet en croissance 1991-2009.
The Cabinet en croissance, on deposit at the Institute since 2008, houses Ann Veronica Janssens’ prototypes as they are completed. She shows her recent experiments on the occasion of Station 1.

A structure for storage and building site architecture, the container is here a workshop ‘in progress’, a metaphor for the Space Brain Laboratory. It is used as a research centre for the entire duration of the laboratory, progressively reporting the various stages to the public in the form of documentation and archives (recording of study days, access to the blog, publications, etc.).

Study day

June 8, 2009 at IAC Auditorium

Audio recordings of the study day (French - mp3):