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Exploring Vincent Leroy’s art installation 'Floating Lenses' at Joshua Tree desert

French artist Vincent Leroy installs kinetic sculpture in Joshua Tree National Park in California, inviting visitors to a meditative space curated by the interplay of light and movement.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jul 13, 2023

Vincent Leroy was born in Normandy, France, and attained technical expertise in Paris through an industrial design course at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle. This was also the beginning of the French artist’s creative practice, which has seen him engage extensively with experimental kinetic art production. His earlier kinetic works received public acclaim, which led to Leroy's installations being set up in various Parisian galleries and art museums, eventually followed by the artist undertaking various projects in collaboration with designers, architects and other companies, and the beginnings of his own art studio in Paris. Leroy has an interdisciplinary conceptual approach to his kinetic sculptures, which oscillates between real and virtual, natural and artificial, drawing inspiration from the tangible and the digital world. Movement, state of flux, and ideas of fluidity form the foundation of Leroy’s practice, which is evident in his kinetic sculptures, immersive installations and monumental works. One may even say that movement is the medium Leroy works with, and that this enables his non-living works to orchestrate performances of their own.

Installation view of Floating Lenses at Joshua Tree desert, kinetic sculpture, 2023 Video: Courtesy of Vincent Leroy

Leroy’s recent practice and large-scale installations can be found in open spaces, such as the Icelandic glaciers of Canarian volcanoes, and now in the Joshua Tree desert in southern California, where his latest art installation Floating Lenses has been set up. It is an extension of the sculpture artist’s ongoing exploration of the interplay between light and movement, and concurrently, of time and scale. The aim of his projects remains constant: a portal to transcend beyond our physical reality, and to invite the audience to a poetic universe, where the capacity of our senses is enhanced.

Floating Lenses:  Vincent Leroy makes the final adjustments to his mobile, 2023, Kinetic Sculpture | Floating Lenses | STIRworld
Floating Lenses: Vincent Leroy makes the final adjustments to his mobile, kinetic sculpture, 2023 Image: Courtesy of Vincent Leroy

The philosophy of Leroy’s practice is grounded in alternate realities. Eliciting a subtle mix of poetry and technology, the performance of kinetic sculptures is manifested in ripples, reflections, superimpositions and playful gestures of light. These elements port the viewer into another realm, which is surreal, and hence, contemplative of the reality we inhabit. The kinetic installation transcends the boundaries of the visual experience and evokes an embodied sense of perception.

The Floating Lenses intersect and reflect into each other , 2023, Kinetic sculpture | Floating Lenses | STIRworld
Floating Lenses intersect and reflect into each other, kinetic sculpture, 2023 Image: Courtesy of Vincent Leroy

In this sculpture installation, the elements that facilitate the movement of light are the concave glass discs which are mobile, and the structure is held together by an industrial base, made from aluminum and carbon. The concave moving discs are portals of performative light that reflect the California sky. The produced reflections from the sunlight give this sculpture art the illusion of transparency and mobility, making it simultaneously tangible and intangible. Even the gentlest of exhales can breathe life into the kinetic sculpture, facilitating the movement of the fresnel lenses which mark the corners of the sculpture. The entire context of the art installation exudes a sense of calmness and solitude, fostered by the tranquility and stillness of the Joshua Tree desert. The installation's resonation with the surrounding environment makes one ponder about the beauty and fragility of nature. Observing the ethereal movements of the floating lens is a meditation in its own right.

Floating Lenses: The mobile reacts to the slightest breath of air, 2023, Kinetic Sculpture | Floating Lenses | STIRworld
Floating Lenses: The mobile reacts to the slightest breath of air, kinetic sculpture, 2023 Image: Courtesy of Vincent Leroy

For Leroy, as an installation artist, the dialogue between the visible and invisible, facilitated by his kinetic sculpture, is imperative for his practice. With Floating Lenses, Leroy's aim is to provoke an illusion and to take visitors on a journey into an alternative reality where everyday life is momentarily forgotten in the face of natural beauty. The intriguing and hypnotic movements of the lenses are meant to captivate the viewer and generate a deep sense of wonder.

Floating Lenses in Vincent Leroy’s studio, 2023 Video: Courtesy of Vincent Leroy

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