Raphaël Zarka — Riding Modern Art

Raphaël Zarka — Riding Modern Art


Riding Modern Art brings together a collection of 70 black and white photographs of people skateboarding on sculptures in public spaces. Through his study of the process of appropriation and reuse of works of art in public places, used by skateboarders as further challenges for their sport, Raphaël Zarka offers a way of approaching a work of art that underlines the dynamism of modern sculpture, casting a critical light on the idea of movement in these often abstract and geometric works, inspired by Cubist, Futurist or Constructivist art.

The skateboarder’s approach to a sculpture, more mechanical than conceptual, brings out the variety of movement it seeks to suggest. While it is not possible to “freeze” or represent movement in a solid form (it cannot be sculpted) it is, nevertheless, a constituent element of the work, as also is space. Thus, the body of the skateboarder becomes a choreographic form on a sculptural form, and the presence of a human body on a work of art transforms it from something perched on a pedestal into a living sculpture.

Without being a “transgression”, a consciously symbolic act, the skateboarders’ usage of these sculptures exposes a reification of the work of art, treated here as a simple object, a material or collection of materials arranged in a particular form, like an intrinsic study of the mechanics of solids in the time-honored tradition of Galileo. In this way, they give new life to our perception of art in public spaces.

Ten images are missing from this collection, as sculptors have refused to see their artwork reproduced. The spaces dedicated to those photographs remain purposely empty.

This book is published with the support of BPS22, Musée d’Art de la province du Hainaut, Charleroi; Les Abattoirs / Frac Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse; Michel Rein, Paris / Brussels; Raphaël Zarka.

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