Arts and Culture

Museum Moment: Elias Crespin, L’Onde du Midi at the Louvre Paris

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Pyramid, the Musée du Louvre has commissioned a major public artwork, inviting Venezuelan contemporary artist Elias Crespin to design a new permanent piece for the museum. 

This new permanent artwork is made up of 128 metal tubes hanging from motor-powered cables, the artist’s kinetic creation, L’Onde du Midi, performs its subtle choreography at the top of the Escalier du Midi in the southeast corner of the Cour Carrée. Crespin follows in the footsteps of leading contemporary art figures who have created works for the Louvre, including Anselm Kiefer (2007), François Morellet (2010) and Cy Twombly (2010).

L’Onde du Midi
An example from the artist’s “Plano Flexionante” series, this sculpture is made up of parallel rows of 128 cylindrical tubes that are suspended in midair by invisible cables. When not in motion, the ethereal mobile becomes a rectangular horizontal plane some 10 meters in length (W. 1.50 x L. 9.5 m). While in perpetual motion, the piece seems unaffected by gravity, moving through space at a height of 3 to 4.5 meters in sequences regulated by numerical algorithms. This non-linear, undulating mechanical dance invites visitors to slow down and contemplate the enchanting work. In a hypnotic fashion, the spectator is drawn into the slow, graceful interplay of shapes, with its unexpected and infinite variations. The mobile’s spatial configurations are endlessly surprising: as the shapes expand, become level, and diffract, substituting chaos for order, complexity for simplicity. Like the stage of a mute ballet, the Escalier du Midi serves as a “rest area” for museum visitors.

In situ preview of L’Onde du Midi, Elias Crespin © Elias Crespin. Visuel Pascal Maillard

Elias Crespin’s artistic universe
With a combination of science and art, Elias Crespin’s creations speak to the spectator, they examine the concepts of shape, space, movement and time. Creative intuition and scientific rigor in harmonious interplay in his visual display of the laws of the universe—L’Onde du Midi—a reflection of the former computer engineer’s interests.

The artist commented: “I have always been interested in shapes and logic. I am also intrigued by sensory pleasures and perception; I enjoy beautiful sunsets, for instance. On the other hand, I also appreciate more complex ideas, such as the functions and properties of circles and triangles, and drawings that can generate certain mathematical relations.”

Permanent contemporary installations at the Louvre
This project carries on a long-standing tradition at the Louvre, which since its inception been an ideal architectural setting for painted and sculpted commissions from living artists.

The inspiring building features decorative artworks by Charles Le Brun and Eugène Delacroix (Galerie d’Apollon), Georges Braque (The Birds, a ceiling painting executed in 1953 in Salle Henri II) as well as, more recently, Anselm Kiefer (Athanor, 2007, northeast staircase of the Cour Carrée), François Morellet (L’Esprit d’Escalier, 2010, Lefuel staircase) and Cy Twombly (The Ceiling, 2010, Bronzes room).

Exhibit Details

Opening hours: every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except Tuesdays). Late-night opening on Wednesdays until 10 p.m.
Free late-night opening on the first Saturday of the month until 10 p.m. Admission: €15. Time-slot bookings ensuring entry in less than 30 min: €17 at Free for under-18s and for under-26s living in the EEA. For further information:  (The Escalier du Midi cannot be accessed on Fridays). This artwork is supported by the ARTEXPLORA endowment fund.

Elias Crespin: Biography
Born in Venezuela in 1965, Elias Crespin studied computer engineering in Caracas. The son of mathematicians and grandson of artists, his approach brings together the twin worlds of science and art. He started working on his first creation—Malla Electrocinética I—in 2002, finishing and exhibiting the piece in 2004. The artist’s mobile sculptures have since entered prestigious institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, El Museo del Barrio in New York and the MALBA in Buenos Aires. In 2018, Elias Crespin displayed his work at the Grand Palais exhibition titled “Artists & Robots”, unveiling his piece Grand HexaNet. The artist has been living and working in Paris since 2008, where he is represented by the Denise René gallery.


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