Bardula is an artist's name, whose luminokinetic work is created by a couple, a Belgian silversmith and a French architect, in their studio south of Paris.
Bardula's work is part of the currents of optical and kinetic art, and revisits these artistic movements with a particular interest in science and new technologies, 3D, laser and LED.
Drawing on light, transparency, reflection, and virtual volume, Bardula investigates optical effects on a geometrical basis, and explores mathematical figures, extracted from 3D digital models, and movements inspired by vortex phenomena.
Bardula exploits matter and light to research the correlation between 2D and 3D, and creates hypnotic and magnetic artworks : their luminokinetic works focus on the visual perception and spatial experience created by light perspectives, and generate a sense of infinity.
It is since 2014, the year of their first collaboration with Parisian interior designers Gilles & Boissier on a series of luminokinetic sculptures for the Baccarat Hotel New York (project catalog here) that Bardula's career has accelerated.
In 2015, a solo show at the KKDC gallery on rue Dauphine in Paris, followed by a kinetic art exhibition with historical artists of this movement for the auction at Piasa on rue du Faubourg St Honoré, entitled Art Cinétique-Light Show and curated by Domitille d'Orgeval, was followed by the first representation of Bardula, by the Zurich-based Galerie La Ligne, during its exhibition at Art Paris at the Grand Palais.
In 2016, Bardula realized a second project solicited by Gilles & Boissier: a monumental luminokinetic installation in the entrance of the largest Moncler flagship store in the USA, on Madison Avenue in New York; Solaris is a symmetrical installation, consisting of 4m high golden metallic blades facing each other, progressing geometrically to form together a spherical deformation, creating a magnetic and solar space in which one enters, and where a luminous scenario in undulatory motion modifies at every moment the perception of the whole.
Bardula's most recent artwork for Moncler, Alter Ego, was finalized in 2021 in their Moscow store. This kinetic light installation is in a dedicated window of the historic GUM building on the Red Square, facing the Kremlin and Lenin's Mausoleum, and is visible both from inside the store and the Red Square. A book, retracing the story of these 4 projects, was printed in 2021: Bardula for Moncler (English version) and Bardula pour Moncler (French version).
Since 2015, Bardula has had more than forty exhibitions and the artist’s work is now represented in six galleries, all of which specialize in geometric abstraction, Concrete Art and optico-kinetic art.
Bardula's work is represented by
Galerie La Ligne, Zurich
Valmore Studio d’Arte, Vicenza-Venice
Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
Galerie Denise René, Paris
Galerie Nery Marino, Paris
Oliver Cole Gallery, Miami
and is referenced on
Exploration Dynamique du Visible - Part II (solo show) - Galerie Nery Marino, Paris
Art Wynwood - Oliver Cole gallery, Miami
Art Miami, Oliver Cole Gallery, Miami
10-Years Anniversary Exhibition, Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
Knokke Art Fair - Galerie Kellermann, Knokke Heist, Belgium
Art Palm Beach - Oliver Cole gallery, Palm Beach
Art Wynwood - Oliver Cole gallery, Miami
The Women who Investigate the Complexity of Space - Valmore Studio d’Arte, Artsy
Zero 23 - Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
Art Paris Art Fair 2023 - Galerie la Ligne, Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris
Path through artists & works / Itinerary III: The Tricked Eye, Valmore Studio d'Arte, Vicenza
A Geometric Journey (solo show), Galerie La Ligne, Zurich (exhibition's catalog)
Art Miami, Oliver Cole Gallery, Miami
Fall Exhibition 2022, Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
ORANGETHEWORLD, charity exhibition, Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
26 years of gallery activity / Itinerary II: Art Reflects on Itself, Valmore Studio d'Arte, Vicenza
Art Bologna Artefiera, Valmore Studio d'Arte, Bologna
Art Paris Art Fair 2022, Galerie La Ligne, Grand Palais Éphémère, Champ de Mars, Paris
Exploration Dynamique du Visible (solo show) - Galerie Nery Marino, Paris
Winter Show - Galerie La Ligne, Zurich
26 years of gallery activity / Itinerary I: Dialogue among optical-kinetic generations, Valmore Studio d'Arte, Vicenza
Cologne Fine Arts & Design - COFA 2021, Galerie Kellermann, Cologne
ArtVerona 2021 Fiera d’Arte 16th edition, Valmore Studio d’Arte, Verona
Art Paris Art Fair 2021, Galerie La Ligne, Grand Palais Éphémère, Champ de Mars, Paris
Structure du silence, Galerie Denise René, Paris (exhibition's catalog)
Alter Ego, kinetic light installation (permanent work), Moncler GUM store, Red Square, Moscow
ArtVerona 2020 Fiera d’Arte, digital edition, Valmore Studio d’Arte, Verona
Winter Exhibition 2020-21, Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
Cologne Fine Arts & Design COFA 2020, Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf, on Artsy and Artnet
Women & Abstraction, Galerie Denise René, Paris, on Artsy and Artnet
Visual Dynamics, (duo show) Bardula and Dario Perez Flores, Valmore Studio d'Arte, Venice
Sommer 20, Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
Art and Light, Valmore Studio d'Arte, Vicenza
Art Paris Art Fair 2020, Galerie La Ligne, Zurich, online and on Artsy
Artists in Quarantine, Valmore Studio d'Arte, Vicenza, online
Art and Light, (duo show) Bardula and Jacques Toussaint, Valmore Studio d’Arte, Vicenza
Zero-New Zero, Galerie Kellermann, Düsseldorf
COFA, Galerie Kellermann, Cologne
ArtVerona 2019 Fiera d’Arte 15th edition, Valmore Studio d’Arte, Verona
La Geometria Della Luce (solo show), Valmore Studio d’Arte, Vicenza
Art Paris Art Fair 2019, Galerie La Ligne, Paris
100%, Galerie La Ligne, Zurich
Renaissance II, kinetic light installation (permanent work), Moncler, Mexico City
ArtVerona 2018 Fiera d’Arte 14th edition, Valmore Studio d’Arte, Verona
Renaissance I, kinetic light installation (permanent work), Moncler, Stockholm
Invisible Realm, a Kinetica exhibition, Lauren Baker Contemporary, London
Art Paris Art Fair 2018, Galerie La Ligne, Paris
Galerie La Ligne, (solo show), Zurich
Art Paris Art Fair 2017, Galerie La Ligne, Paris
Light, Motion Space, Galerie La Ligne, Zurich
Solaris, monumental kinetic light installation (permanent work), Moncler flagship store, Madison Avenue at 59th Street, New York
Art Paris Art Fair 2016, Galerie La Ligne, Paris
KKDC Gallery (solo show), Paris 6e
Art Cinétique/Light Show, Piasa, Paris 8e
5 Elements, a series of kinetic light installations (permanent works), Baccarat Hotel New York, 53rd Street, New York
Research and development of Propagations
Realization of installations X Cube and Narrows
|Foundation of Bardula Studio
More about Bardula
Catalog text by Domitille d'Orgeval, art historian and curator, for the solo show A geometric Journey, Galerie La Ligne, Zurich, November 12, 2022-January 14, 2023
The works presented by Bardula for their second solo exhibition at Galerie La Ligne, A Geometric Journey, spanning from luminous relief to dematerialized sculpture, invite us to a virtual journey into the invisible and distant world of the cosmos. The approach of this duo of artists, which is part of the filiation of optico-kinetic art1, reveals an interest for the relationships between art and science, and more particularly, mathematics and geometry, light and astronomical phenomena of the universe, playing with the laws of physics to offer a poetic perception at the borders of knowledge.
Bardula's preferred mode of expression, luminous reliefs create visual situations that take us beyond the visible world. A first body of works shows a predilection for shapes derived from the circle or the spiral, whose swirling movements address the eye with unequalled efficiency, drawing it towards the focal point of the work around which everything is organized. Following the principle of radar echo propagation, Mist diffuses energy fields that trap the eye in the endless sequence of its concentric circles.
Creations such as Starry Night or Fibonacci's Bubbles, in this respect, are exemplary : their center, similar to a black hole, draws the eye towards this dark zone of abysmal depth. The gaze, totally mesmerized, is caught in a game of back and forth between absorbing space and frontality that can sometimes be disconcerting for the observer : luminous vibrations, moiré effects whose aspect changes according to the movement of the spectator...
All these phenomena, explored with great inventiveness, are underlined by a carefully researched work on electroluminescent color, whose sensory and particulate qualities Bardula exploits with remarkable refinement.
An artwork like Photon combines transparency and opacity through the tight weave of colors wrapped around a ring in the most subtle green-yellow gradations. With Metaverse, shapes of great crystalline clarity diffuse their radiance in tones ranging from immaculate white to blues and purples, while Solar Spectrum resorts to more complex processes of color filters to amplify the vibratory power of the spectrum’s colors.
As such, Bardula does not yield to any systematism : each work, each design gives rise to renewed combinations of light and color, which, moreover, are modulable through a system of remote control or variators.
In another set of luminous reliefs, the strategies to appropriate the gaze developed by Bardula are significantly different. As the superimposed frames of Sierpinsky Pyramid show, these constructions, by their all-over distribution, create a continuous visual field and seem to extend beyond the material limits of the artwork. Their regular occupation of the surface, undermining any relationship between foreground and background, center and periphery, consequently demultiply the focal units of composition.
In Starry Night, these effects are amplified by the use of the mirror, which creates a fascinating, but also vertiginous, impression of infinite pattern duplication. To reinforce this feeling of endless artwork and immateriality, the chromatic range chosen by Bardula for these creations is rather restricted to monochrome tones, close to pale blue and white, evoking some distant constellations.
The complexity of the formal systems elaborated by Bardula could not be fully appreciated without measuring the incredible rigor and meticulousness they require. Just like the elders of kinetic art, Bardula has the scientist's spirit of research and precision. The artworks do not tolerate any randomness ; they are built with the same concern for accuracy that drives the engineer and requests a perfect knowledge of new technologies, 3D modeling, LEDs...
In parallel, Bardula develops within its sphere of expression, some artworks which, although plane, give rise to fantastic illusions of volume or depth, in the manner of a Vasarely painting. Denying the frontality of the surface, these artworks result from the organization of abstract motifs that often evoke molecular models (Ether) but also impossible geometric figures, caught in tangles of complex forms that seem to advance, retreat, swell in incredibly subtle gradations of black, white and gray.
Bardula's cosmic imaginary also revolves in the three dimensions of space with sculptures composed of aluminum blades (Red Square), whose volume results from the successive alignment of plates that do not touch. Printing the actual space with their linear rhythm, they seem to trap the moment when the shapes appear, as if crossed by waves varying in space-time according to the point from which they are observed. As if freed from the laws of gravity, they are hollowed out in their center and propel on the walls effects of shadows and lights triggering impressions of optical distortion. Here, the phenomenon of appropriation of the artwork doubles as a physical experience : the slightest movement of the viewer produces a feeling of increased movement. The visual experience becomes global.
Bardula's works, shining with magnetic force and light, explore the dynamics of vision with science and poetry. Affirming the supremacy of the eye in their apprehension, they push perception further and raise philosophical questions : How does each of us apprehend the invisible towards which these creations draw us ? Is the essential in the visible or the invisible ? What is the veracity of the eye ?
Domitille d’Orgeval, Curator and Art Historian
1 Bardula is more precisely in line with the artists defended by Galerie Denise René since its historic exhibition, Le Mouvement, in 1955, and those affiliated with the GRAV group (created in 1960) which were also exhibited on several occasions. Among them are Vasarely, Soto, Julio Le Parc, Yvaral, Morellet... To this list, let us add the work of the English Bridget Riley, for the Op art character of the work, and that of the American James Turell in the spatial apprehension of light.
Excerpt from the catalog La Geomeria Della Luce / solo show of May 2019, published by Valmore Studio d'Arte, curated by Monica Bonollo
The image as a medium of knowledge
By Monica Bonollo
Bardula is an artist well grafted into the movements of the 20th century, from which she drew sap to bring forth the new expressive forms of the 21st. Her historical references originate from a number of areas, the most evident and closest being the complex paths of kinetic optical art. But in her constructivist approach, she also gets inspiration from geometric abstraction and concrete art. A reference could certainly also be made to Renaissance studies of the perspective device, to their theoretical premises and to their vertiginous effects in baroque anamorphoses and trompe l’oeil.
There would be much to say about the sources of the manifold contributions to be found in her output. However, it is certainly much more interesting and significant to try to realize how, from the accomplishments of the many artists that have preceded her, she has managed, by creating works of great visual and conceptual impact, to forge her own original way forward. Bardula’s output kindles our curiosity about her later developments as if she were signposting glimpses of possible directions of the future.
Her affinity with optical kinetic art is undoubtedly much in evidence. One is amazed by her profound knowledge of the work done by her predecessors, and by the wisdom with which she adopts the results of their experiments. Many of her works reveal echoes of Vasarely or Careaga, in her desire and ability to conjure a third dimension from two-dimensional works, depth from surface, and to highlight the ambiguity existing between pictorial space and that of the observer. Her command of color and of color-light is reminiscent of Garcia Rossi’s remarkable gifts, whilst her search for multiplied space and endless depth recall Paolo Scirpa’s ludoscopes.
Also fundamental is the artist’s concern for the observer’s point of view, for the importance of the relationship between the work and the spectator, by the complicity of the eye. The same work, viewed from the front and from the side, is transformed beneath our incredulous gaze.
In much of her output Bardula also develops a study of intrinsic movement. Her images are unstable, pervaded by a continuous vibration, in perpetual virtual motion (with echoes of Stein, Le Parc, Wilding, and many others). Through her expert handling of the perceptive mechanisms and dynamics of vision, as researched in depth during the twentieth century by psychologists and artists, Bardula with the utmost subtlety bends to her own needs the latest innovative technologies (not only hardware and software but also the materials used) to accomplish unprecedented results that are also fully in harmony with her time.
Besides this rapport with her predecessors, Bardula maintains a close relationship with science. A dialogue between art and science, mediated by technology, seems to provide the most meaningful context in which to develop her work.
She engages in a confrontation with the major and still open issues of contemporary science, offering suggestions on how to continue that dialogue while hinting at possible further developments. But a foreword is needed here. Bardula’s work is backed by a profound knowledge of geometry and mathematics, which underpin her explorations of abysses: the known limits of the image and of visible reality. This is her personal quest for knowledge since there can be no knowledge without a language to represent it. We know moreover that for human beings sight is the favored channel of interaction with reality. Visual representation is always the most effective idiom in the road to comprehension.
A few weeks ago, on 10 April 2019, a sizeable group of scientists showed the world the first image of a “black hole”. That image is the result of years of observations and processing of data, of following up and verifying hypothetical existences formulated only through mathematical calculations. A “black hole” is by definition invisible, in that it sucks in everything around it, matter and light, which due to the force of gravity can no longer get out. Since it emits no light, the black hole cannot be perceived through sight. Visible instead is the “horizon of events” that delimits it: the incandescent swirl of dusts and gases that spiral towards its center, in a journey of no return. On this occasion, it was said that “What we are seeing is proof of a horizon of events. Now we have the visual proof of a black hole”.
Black holes are today the most extreme entities imaginable. They represent the frontier of our knowledge of the universe, and with it, of reality.
So, Bardula’s work seems to focus precisely on the attempt to give visual form to what is invisible or hard to visualize and to find a language, a “technological device”, capable of doing so. The titles of Bardula’s works - “Atomium”, “Event Horizon”, “Beyond Hyperspace”, “Waves”, “Ice”, “Starry Night”, “Ripple” and “Möbius” - already refer to the world of Physics, from the atomic scale to that of the universe, from quantum mechanics to the gravitational theory of relativity. There is a declared attention to atoms and molecules, organic forms and cosmic formations, and to the forces that act upon them, as also to forms and figures that represent them: “Purple Explosion”, “Carrés Etirés”, Carrés Eclatés”, ...
When dedicating works to her ideal masters, Vasarely and Le Parc, in “To Victor” she is visualizing Einstein’s time-space fabric, and in “Hommage à Julio Le Parc”, she is staring into the face of the “monster”, the “black hole” and the “unknown”. “Interference Bleue – Hommage à Le Parc” is a visual representation of the power and uneasiness of our knowledge.
Try fastening your visual attention on the center of the image, or its edges. Both are in constant motion, incessantly transformed. The spectator cannot keep their eye on them, because their gaze is continually diverted towards other points. If we stare hard at the monster, the abyss dilates, eating up part of the color; the edges shrink, making the figure smaller. And the whole figure is swept by the movement of a slow but inexorable wave.
The originality of Bardula’s art lies in her attempt to survey and to represent the complexity of the concept of space, at every scale and in all its accepted meanings. This occurs from geometric and mathematical space used as a medium to architectural space (with reference to the sculptures and installations), in which she reflects on the elements and on their relationships to build a three- dimensional space, an environment in which light is fundamental to its structure.
Where space is intended as a universe, as what constitutes reality, as what we know about reality and what we still don’t. Hyperspace, the beyond, is treated as the desire to reach beyond the known universe, to discover new dimensions and fresh “forms” of existence.
The passage between dimensions, from 2 to 3 and 3 to 4, and beyond the fourth towards other hypothetical dimensions, also represents an arduous cognitive leap. What is inside or beyond the black hole? Is there a passage to other dimensions, towards other universes?
And what makes Bardula’s works so vibrant and constantly transformed is her keen awareness that space is not immobile, cannot be separated from time and is therefore pervaded by movement.
We should also reflect on the question of light, which plays an essential role in Bardula’s works. Light is deployed as energy, as what lends form to matter; and also as an electromagnetic wave that enables us to perceive our surroundings. Light is intended as a possible means of knowledge.
Bardula’s works contain a remarkable force of attraction, a vertiginous attraction towards the unknown, with a curiosity that propels us beyond known space. Through the most rational media at her disposal - mathematics, and geometry - she leads us into the unknown, in order to survey it or to bring it into view.
She does this through interacting and contrasting pairs of opposites : light- darkness, surface-depth, external-internal, visible-invisible, known-unknown. Rationality, the surface, the visible and the known world relate to depth and darkness, the unknown. Our certainties, our equilibrium, and calmness, are constantly confronted with the uncertainty, trouble and imbalance caused by the awareness of the limits of our knowledge.
Her work titled “Ouroboros”, with the snake biting its tail and the circle without a beginning or end, is seemingly immobile. But it is actually in everlasting movement, representing the universal energy that devours and regenerates and forever consumes and renews itself, in the unity and totality of everything. What is Bardula’s new contribution to the geometric-constructivist approaches of the 20th century? The artist’s point of departure is no longer to pit objective methods and techniques of representation against individual and subjective expression. Hers is an attempt, situated at the intersection between different disciplines, to join their forces in pursuit of fresh avenues and to suggest hypotheses.
Through the principal media of rationality, mathematics, and geometry, Bardula ventures to the very limits of reason and knowledge, towards other possible dimensions of existence.
Excerpt by Eva Zanardi from the 2017 catalog Bardula Recent Works
Eva Zanardi is a New York-based curator, art advisor, and art writer specializing in Kinetic Art, Op Art and contemporary art. © 2017
Let There Be Light
« The intangibility of light and the hypnotizing way Bardula negotiates such phenomenon are the focal point of her spellbinding works. The artist’s orderly installations and meditative mandalas of brightness distill light out of the shadows.
In her work, darkness is the starting point and serves as the anchor that holds her hypnotic 3D illusions in place. At the intersection of endless void and an effervescent interstellar nebula, the artist’s multiplied perspective-bending tableaus accompany the viewer behind the proverbial “looking glass” by creating an illusory infinite plunge into darkness guided by soothing, reassuring light. In Buddhist iconography the glowing, pure lotus pierces murky, black waters to symbolize enlightenment and rebirth; such is the feeling the viewer experiences when plunging into the artist’s luminous landscapes. The artwork creates the impression of emerging from the depths of chaos into a perfect, atmospheric aura.
In its many changing forms, light inspires—and provides flexibility to those who wish to use it metaphorically. The use of light in art spawned movements and manifested itself in multiple forms. From Caravaggio to Turrell, from Paolo Scirpa to Olafur Eliasson, artists chose light as a medium to shift the paradigm of experiencing an artwork. Light’s universality is what makes it compelling, as Goethe once said: “Art is nothing but the light of nature”. Throughout centuries, artists have captured light to manipulate it as both subject and medium.
In harnessing light, Bardula's work examines the basis of a mathematical, geometric framework, the relationship between color, form, light reflection, and virtual volume presented in 3D. With a particular interest in perception and spatial experience, Bardula’s illuminated sculptures challenge our prescriptions of knowledge, control, and what it means to be human in an age of technology.
The artist’s exquisite radiant creations mesmerize. With “Solaris” 2016, a monumental kinetic light installation in the entrance of the Moncler flagship store in Manhattan, the artist created a spatial suspension of disbelief, encouraging an analysis of our relationship with the metaphysical in a world increasingly governed by practical, rational and scientific principles.
By confronting the viewer with the seemingly impossible phenomenon of bending light, “Solaris” creates a space for contemplation and introspection, suggesting a synthesis between agnostic reason and intuitive belief. Bardula explains: “‘Solaris’ represents the center of our immediate universe – the solar system – and takes the visitor to the heart of the ultimate star: the sun. The individual enters the center of the world, where radiates the golden light. The space opens up in response to the visitor, immersing him or her in a volume distorted by a mysterious force – his or her own.”
By combining her expertise in shaping metals and LED-technology along with the skills of her alter ego in 3D and infography, Bardula harnesses matter and light to investigate the correlation between 2D, 3D and their projection in time, 4D. Her labor intensive light installations and light sculptures are obtained by extricating 3D digital geometrical algorithms through LED-technology.
The artist clearly draws inspiration from the cosmos immutable perfection. By analyzing, disassembling and reassembling the laws of physics and mathematics (in particular geometry), the artist gazes into the crystalline order of the universe, the “many interacting worlds” of Quantum mechanics.
When admiring Bardula’s ‘finite’ mesmerizing artworks the viewer will actually get a glimpse of the infinite. »
Eva Zanardi, New York 2017.