Gyan Panchal. rompre l’orbe (Breaking the Orb). October 7–December 17, 2017. Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart, Place du Château, Rochechouart – Franc.

Rochechouart Museum of contemporary art is delighted to present a solo exhibition by the artist Gyan Panchal who has been given free rein to exploit the vast roof gallery at Rochechouart Castle with a selection of recent pieces made for and inspired by this space.

Breaking the Orb marks a new direction in his work. Over the last decade he has carried out sculptural experiments involving processes often with petroleum-based synthetic polymers. Today Gyan Panchal treads a path on the borderline between human and non-human, organic and inorganic, animate being and inanimate thing.

Gyan Panchal gathers and collects used utilitarian man-made objects that have been dumped in the environment and they have grown to become the prime materials of his works. Synthetic and natural substances are added or subtracted from works, the latest set feature an agricultural storage hopper, lifebelts, planks and a canoe.

Despite the patina of weathering and time, the original purpose of these objects can still be identified. The artist may have chosen the rôle of a sculptor but his use of these materials is almost painterly in the way their pictorial nature is brought out.

Breaking the Orb underlines basic processes Gyan Panchal exploits as he arranges, duplicates, subtracts and sands. The result is fragmented, open sculptures that reveal their interiors and inner resonances.

The works appear timeless, giving an impression of them hanging suspended in mid-air in the exhibition space, as if waiting for something. Their pearly surfaces add another layer of worrying mystery to the question of their true identity.

This excerpt from Henri Focillon’s Éloge de la main (1934) seems appropriate. “The mind comes alive as soon as accidents impress their chance forms on materials and a hand exploits the disaster. Dealing with a chaotic world in this manner produces its most surprising effects when applied to materials little suited for art, improvised tools, fragments, detritus, so worn and cracked that they become a remarkable source of inspiration.”

Breaking the Orb is a floating landscape replete with a series of apparitions or repetitions that are both well balanced or unstable. They form a world that is simultaneously over and open-ended.

The exhibition is curated by Sébastien Faucon, the new director of Rochechouart Museum. Located at 40 km from Limoges, the Rochechouart Castle is perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop. Most of the castle dates from the 15th century with an inner courtyard and elegant Renaissance gallery with frescoes from the 16th century. In 1985, Haute-Vienne Council established the Museum of contemporary art within its walls. The museum has an exceptional collection of artworks by artists such as Gerhard Richter, Luciano Fabro, Ugo Rondinone, Steve McQueen, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Thierry Kuntzel It includes also the Raoul Hausmann funds, dedicated to the famous dadaist who spent the last 20 years of his life in Limoges.