Francois Dallegret, French (1937 - )

Dallegret’s artistic approach is characterized by two converging drives. The first, internal, tends to achieve a synthesis of the different modes and materials, technological or thematic, that he explored over a nearly forty years career. The second drive is outward, directed at a public assertion of this synthesis, by way of major urban installations. The more intimate, analytical, industrial design process, that produces the simple and functional object, is therefore replaced by an essentially formal synthetical megadesign, a totality that, because of its discourse and dimensions, cannot be expressed elsewere than in public space. Moreover, that space becomes itself not only a mere place, but the very object of this ultimate synthesis that henceforth adresses the city as such, that is the postindustrial city, which is the ending expression of liberal democracy, and that the design wants not only to celebrate but also to express and explain by unearthing and revealing its profound urban sedimentation and structure.

Following studies in architecture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris, François Dallegret focused his research and creativity on a field that was flowering at the time, and which he continues to explore to this day. This unfenced field forms a limitless expanse where the plastic arts come together with these new ways of seeing the world and acting on it that we group together under the catchword "technology".

The first works to come out of his examination were the "mechanical drawings" he presented in 1962 at the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris. Since that time, the pertinence of his impertinence and the merciless clarity with which he challenges the measure and forms of our perception of objects and architecture have never ceased to astound.

He is now working, for 2004/2006, on "i-diodes", a computer line of Leds in cars interaction for the Palais des congrés de Montréal and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, "i_light", a serie of pulsating Xenon masts along the Ship Channel in Toronto, and in France, "Arc & Flèches", two 300m hydro-power structures and lighting masts in Trélazé, “court-circuit” as dots of light are projected on a wall next to the Conseil d'Architecture, d'Urbanisme et de l'Environnement in Lille, 2006.…

He has invented a new alphabet called "ArchiVirus" (see front page) based on a bar code and luminous dots, with electroluminescent leds programmed by computer and working in interaction with the public.

For over 30 years in his work as a "builder", François Dallegret has polarized the flowering diversity of new ideas that contribute to the common metaphorical resource of those two great cultural worlds, Europe and America, in this sense, he can be said to be a sort of "stange attractor" who, in a fictional world, where thought stimulates inert matter and infuses it with vital energy, brings together complex ideas of dissimilar nature with a view to their interpolation, reorganization and emphasis. It is not surprising that Dallegret creations draw from an extensive and disparate body of work that imports a manner of expression and formal references as much from objects and architecture as from the image.

They are also works of transformation which the play of symbolic references imparted to all sides of an element result in their being no real object of architecture or especially image but rather a synthetic construction that articulates the effects.

As a designer of "urban objects" or "architectones" with play function, François Dallegret is not part of any movement nor does he favour any particular style or espouse any etiquette. His approach, both exploratory and critical, is that or a free thinker who casts an ironic eye upon our materialistic culture and who revels in striking down doctrinaire or dogmatic constraints that are imposed by certain schools of thoughts dominating this field. This is also the case for post-modernism and nostalgic historicism which, he suggests, affect both architecture and public art with the ostentatious legitimacy of a past bared, or worse still, exhumed. And it is because he prefers to contribute to the shaping of our contemporary world, rather than support weak archeological attempts by devoted diggers, that Dallegret proposes defining a more radical way of introducing the artis factum in the urban milieu.

A simple but thought-provoking mode that gives rise to structures entirely devoted to the act of celebrating and whose thematic thread is life itself: this fundamental property of animated beings inhabiting the city space who, by the very fact that they walk through it and enliven its streets, transform the cityscape in a different way everyday.
Presenting life, accommodating life, generating life through the assembly of objects that are always impromptu, often changing, sometimes irreverent – this is what characterizes the work of François Dallegret. Works of tremendous vitality with not a ghost or mnemonic figure to be found, nor touching reminders or resurrected apparitions. Nothing here is static, fossilized, frozen or wrongly destroyed. The city presented, the city transformed, is no "still life", or capriccio that celebrates long-forgotten ruins. Neither is it a museum from end to end. Its breath is nor restrained, stifled; It breathes with energy.

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