Raphaël Zarka is one of a new generation of artists for whom existing cultural forms constitute the raw material for their work. The point of departure for his art, which encompasses photography, video and the written essay, is fundamentally sculptural in the expanded field of a twenty-first century artist.
For many years a skateboarder and the author of several books on its history, Zarka’s idea of skateboarding, as a kind of re-writing of spaces destined for a particular use, rhymes with his approach to his artistic practice. Similar to the abandoned structures built for past moments of aspiration and endeavor, and the recurrence of forms put to new uses, Zarka’s reflections on skateboarding signal ecology of art making of critical and contemporary relevance. For him it’s not a question of an absolute reality but rather, what it is, has been or might be depending on the position from which you view it.
Extract from Raphael Zarka Geometry Improved, a text by Suzanne Cotter
Personal exhibitions include Le tombeau d'Archimède, Le Grand Café (Saint-Nazaire, France), Gibellina, Stroom Den Haag (La Haye, The Netherlands), Gibellina, CAN Neuchâtel (Switzerland) in 2011, PERGOLA, Palais de Tokyo (Paris) in 2010, Geometry Improved, Modern Art Oxford (UK) in 2009. He also participated to group shows; such as, Apartés, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Performa 11, and the New Visual Art Performance Biennial (New York) in 2011. His work has been presented through screenings such as Species of Skateboarding, Tate Modern (London) and Video et Après, Centre Pompidou (Paris) in 2011. His first monography was published in 2012 by B42 / Galerie Michel Rein. He was awarded the Ricard Prize in 2008.
He's nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2013.