The French artist Loris Gréaud doesn’t like spoilers. In line with past exhibitions, details for his January 2015 museum-wide takeover of Dallas Contemporary were scant prior to opening. A few weeks back, the artist said in a phone interview from France, “It’s complicated to reveal the project because it has to deal with the vampire effect, you know? When you put light on it, it disappears.”
(It should be noted that Gréaud remains elusive in both life and art: after several failed attempts at connecting with the artist, a press representative assigned an employee the arduous task of dialing him continuously, hoping for a response. The publicist explained that this is how everyone reaches the man—by making calls every 15 minutes until he finally picks up.)
Gréaud—who refers to his process as an “empirical machine” and orchestrates elaborate, large-scale installations in a fashion more akin to a film director or orchestra conductor—did let a few details slip. The artist calls the show a “self-fulfilling prophecy” and said that it will take the form of “sort of a Natural History museum” and feature a work that he describes as “a sex movie. Not a porn movie, because it’s basically sex,” filmed with a military camera that senses body heat and displays light accordingly.
“When you film two people having sexual intercourse,” Gréaud said, “when they get close to the orgasm they are probably scoring more light. So the film is about this sort of topographical transposition of pleasure, heat transforming to light.”
The exhibition will also include a series of blown-glass cloud sculptures made entirely by using sand culled from over 900,000 hourglasses, a good portion of which were purchased from online auction sites like eBay.
If these elements seem dissimiliar, Gréaud remains confident in himself. “Something will happen. The idea of this ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ is that everything will be very organized,” he said.
This statement is not without precedent: in 2008 Gréaud became the first artist to take over the entire 40,000-square-foot Palais de Tokyo in Paris, dividing the space into separate “bubbles” containing everything from vending machines selling candies with no taste to a choreographed paintball performance utilizing a patented blue paint developed by Yves Klein.
With that in mind, Dallas Contemporary’s choice to give Gréaud carte blanche on the building was natural. “Loris’s work is all about obviously a story or narrative,” said Peter Doroshenko, executive director of the museum, who also stated that “the influences of cinema and architecture are so great” for the artist that “it didn’t make sense” to have another person occupying the same space as Gréaud.
Doroshenko went on to compare Gréaud’s exhibition to a movie itself: giving away too much information before the opening would be like revealing a plot twist—a deal breaker. Nevertheless, there was one statement that Doroshenko could make with confidence. “It will be very grandiose,” he said.
A version of this story originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 35 under the title “Connectivity Problems.”