Claude Lévêque: Stigmata

June 20, 1999–January 2, 2000

On June 20 a central stairwell at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center will be transformed into a vertical chamber of red light and mirrors. Extending through three floors of the building, Stigmata by Claude Lévêque evokes the atmosphere of a nightclub or disco, imbuing it with the possibility of transcendental experience.

Beginning with intense red filters, Lévêque covers the large windows in the stairwell causing the natural light to seep through in a deep blood-red glow. He then stretches reflective mylar across the ceilings of each landing, creating a sequence of mirrored surfaces. Strips of spiked plastic lights suggesting the form of viruses extend vertically through the space, pulsing on and off in a linear sequence, repeated infinitely by the mylar screens. A soundtrack of simple percussion echoes the rhythmic movement of the lights.

Claude Lévêque’s work reveals the spiritual possibilities of cultivated environments through a sophisticated sensitivity to elements of design, architecture, and urban space. Combining spotlights, gleaming white tile, chains, and short phrases such as “The World’s a Game,” or “Game’s Over,” Lévêque creates installations whose impact is unfamiliar and indescribable.

Born in Nevers, France in 1953, Claude Lévêque came to international attention when his work was included in the 1982 Biennale de Paris. Since then, his dramatic light installations have been exhibited broadly both internationally and within France. In 1994 he was included in the Winter of Love exhibition at P.S.1 and he was recently included in the Premises exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum SoHo.


The presentation of Claude Lévêque’s work at P.S.1 is made possible, in part, by Étant donnés. Support for the project is provided by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.