The French artist Loris Gréaud has orchestrated underwater concerts and created flavorless sweets, filled galleries with orange light, and choreographed caged games of paint-ball (inside the Palais de Tokyo, no less). Much of his work evolves from the minds of a widespread network of distinguished collaborators – scientists, filmmakers, engineers, architects – who happily offer expertise whenever the artist requests it. Gréaud, who is young, handsome, and perennially well-dressed, completes the creative jigsaw, producing works that are visceral, regularly expansive, and increasingly ambitious.
Over the past two years, Gréaud has been working towards “[I],” an ambiguously titled pair of works now on view at two of Paris's most revered art institutions. At the Centre Pompidou, the artist has installed a 13-meter tower in the middle of the museum’s vast entrance hall, where three professional cliff divers take turns somersaulting onto an airbag below. A mesmerized crowd gasps whenever a diver plummets to the floor.
At the Louvre, Gréaud has filled a large plinth originally intended for the Winged Victory of Samothrace with an updated version cast in aluminum. Gréaud's replica, however, is shrouded in a metal cloak that mimics and extends the moment at which new museum works are revealed to an expectant audience. It is also a full 10 meters tall, and it purposefully hangs over the plinth's edge as if about to fall, leaving visitors below with an uneasy feeling of expectancy—or doom. "Everybody on the ground seems terrified it's about to topple," one onlooker told the artist last Wednesday, at the opening. "They're supposed to," replied Gréaud, who is the first artist to have ever shown new work concurrently at the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre. "And I know how they feel."