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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Tailor of Shadows

Patrick Rimoux manipulates light as he uses contact sheets from Bollywood films to tell a story.

Published: February 6, 2014 12:03:27 am
Patrick Rimoux lights up the Alliance Francaise’s facade. Patrick Rimoux lights up the Alliance Francaise’s facade.

It was the 25th wedding anniversary of a couple in Mumbai and they chose to gift themselves light. French light sculptor Patrick Rimoux was invited to create an installation in Bandra for the celebration. As the sun set, trees became his canvas. Leaves created the texture, as dappled red, white and blue patterns wove a kilim-like tapestry. This was Rimoux’s first installation on trees in India. He has lit government buildings, from palaces to museums, in Europe for the last 25 years. Delhi knows him as the one who lit up the Jantar Mantar last year and showed the city he could bring the stars down on earth.

His current exhibition “Formes & Lumiere” at Alliance Francaise shows his fascination for Bollywood. Contact sheets of film reels form a curtain within steel frames. These are scratched, sketched and layered with colours, shapes and motifs. Rimoux runs his films on these canvases, telling stories through clips of Hindi movies.

“We got contact sheets from different film producers. In most films, especially those more than 10 years ago, characters  are shown (moves his hand to show a frame) chest up. In this exhibition, I have worked on movement and body. We went through many sheets and come up with a storyboard,” says the 55-year-old, who finds movies such as Krrish surreal compared to French films.

This was one of the installations on display at the India Art Fair.

He recounts his recent experiment at a hotel lobby in the city. “There was a beautiful painting by MF Husain that was poorly lit. The next day, I returned with my projector and lit the frame with a basic light and threw motifs of the elephants and the soldiers from the paintings on to the walls of the hotel lobby. The people there had never seen the painting like that before,” he says.
Rimoux started tinkering with gadgets when he was four which led him to become an engineer. He often mixes different technologies in projects. His blue-tinged fingernails tell of him getting his hands dirty and coloured. For him, it is all about conveying an emotion, a feeling.

The Freedom Tower in South Africa guards this truth. The installation in Soweto marks 50 years of the Freedom Charter, a document that honours a democratic and non-racial South Africa. “This area in Johannesburg has a huge divide between the black and the white people. We built nine columns, 80 m tall each, to represent the nine states. Each column had black and white concrete face-to-face and within it is a hollow space for coloured LEDs that are symbolic of a unified South Africa,” says Rimoux, whose installations include the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.

His next project might just be to light up the Grand Palais in Paris, for which he is among the four shortlisted through a competition. We hope that gets the green light soon.

The exhibition is on till February 9 at the Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate. Contact: 43500202

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