Pierre-Yves Le Duc was born in France in 1964.
In 1988 he graduated in Italian literature at the Sorbonne. During his studies he took frequent trips to Italy until, having obtained a grant from University, he decided to move to Naples.
In 1989 he created his first works without having yet really decided to devote his life entirely to artistic creation. It was three years later (in 1992), after meeting Alfredo Bovio di Giovanni – then eighty-five years old and a dweller of the art world for over fifty years – , that he decided to devote himself exclusively to art. A very strong friendship and mutual esteem bound the two artists. Le Duc’s regular attendance of di Giovanni’s Atelier lasted until 1995, when he passed away. It was with Alfredo that Le Duc learnt the fundamentals of the “craft”, the “academic” practice.
The years between 1993 and 1994 were to be marked by a profound and irretrievable fracture in his practice and vision of art, with work being no longer an end in itself. Not only did art have to interact dynamically, both on the physical and the conceptual plane, with the space that accomodated it, but the very creation of the work resulted of a collaborative process. Involved were now architects, engineers, light designers, the artists he frequented, and the friends, always available at no cost: all together like a research team, especially when the projects that were seeing the light of day grew more and more complex. Le Duc opened his studio to all collaborations and constructive proposals. That was the point when the character of event imposed itself in his installations. The distance between the location and the work was reduced to the dimension of an inevitable meeting point where the public played a crucial role, its presence defining the meaning of the work. In other words, the public was also the performer; it was its being positioned within the installation that activated the sense of the work of art.
His first contact with the public took place in May 1994. He chose the obelisk in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, in the heart of the historic centre of Naples, to display his one-day-long installation titled “The Last Supper”. Inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci this installation consisted of thirteen canvases, each representing the same detail of female anatomy: an upturned vagina bearing an anthropomorphic look. The canvases were arranged in the centre of the square all around the baroque obelisk – a true phallic totem. As the observer moved so did his perspective; from this depended the centrality of the work, which in classical paintings represents the manifestation of the sacred. Here the observer and the work were inseparable.
One year later Le Duc continued his quest pervaded with eroticism with a new installation conceived for the semicircle of Piazza Plebiscito: the “9 muses and the 9 poets”, eighteen canvases measuring 188 by 388 cm, depicted sexual intercourse in a fragmented manner, with a pattern that seemed to mingle with that of a volcano eruption.
In 1996 Le Duc displayed in the Naples Underground (Napoli Sotterranea) the installation “The forty thieves”. Forty-one monoliths were arranged so as to be in the shape of a labyrinth.
In December 1998 Le Duc presented “Medium” in the Sala of Lazzaretto in Naples; in February 2004 he installed GU, a monumental light box, in the Meridian room of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Immersed in a bluish semi-darkness and accompanied by the audio recording of a musical box modified so as to sound like a submarine sonar, this work was once again the design and result of Le Duc’s close collaboration with his light designer Mario Amura. The acronym GU was an artful reference to Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” (in Italian, “Giudizio Universale”) which the work evoked with a cloud of “anthropomorphic scribbles” arranged in a spiral and gradually increasing as they moved away from the centre of the composition.
During the same timeframe time Le Duc presented “Soap opera” where he depicted a wave by using the foam produced by dishwashing liquid. Ephemeral sketches were photographed then reproduced in Indian ink on paper. It was the beginning of a quest that started in 1996 and resulted in the “Motion Painting” video installation project.
Meanwhile in 2008, during a group exhibition, Le Duc presented the “Osso-Buco” video which viewers could watch through the keyhole of a closet inside the Kaplan Projection gallery. In 2010, wishing to express a form of homage to immigrant workers deserted in a hangar in Calabria where they built slums out of cardboard, he created “Rosarno, Desperate house-lives”. This installation – a house made of cardboard retrieved from the city rubbish – was displayed on the terrace of the Marigliano Palace in Naples. That same year Pierre-Yves Le Duc displayed “Bonificarsi, Please!” at the Palace of Arts in Naples.
In 2011, thanks to the freedom of action that Le Duc was granted, he presented – for one evening only – three installations at the Royal Palace of Portici. One of them was completed later on and was displayed that same year in the imposing reception hall of the Spinelli Palace, seat of the Kaplan project’s gallery, on the occasion of a group exhibition. In March 2012 he inaugurated in Atlanta the “Sacred Portal” exhibition devoted to the theme of autoeroticism.
In 2012 he moved to France with his wife and daughter while still keeping his studio in Naples. Since then he has devoted himself to the creation of works yet to be exposed.
He is currently working on “Métastrophysique” and “Débordements”. Other projects, such as the monumental video-installation titled “Motion Painting” and the interactive “Kosmic whore” installation, are awaiting a proper collocation.
Le Duc has exhibited in Italy (Milan, Naples, Pavia, Salerno, Sorrento, Turin, and so on) and abroad (a one-man show of his work was held in Atlanta, United States in 2012). He has been present in important fairs such as the Art Basel fair, the Miami Art Fair and Artissima (Italy).
2019: “Erector Vesevo”, Spazio Nea, Naples
2018: “Andare avanti sino al ‘via’!”, Spazio Nea, Naples
2017: “Handle with care”, Maja Arte Contemporanea, Rome
2012: “Sacred Portal”, Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia (USA)
2011: “Erotoritratti”, The King’s Palace, Portici (Naples); “Art Hotel”, Hotel Mezzatorre, Ischia
2010: “Cleanse yourself, please!”, PAN (Palace of the Arts of Naples), Naples
2009: “Motion painting project”, Philomarino Contemporary Art Gallery, Naples
2008: “Soap opera”, presentation of the “Motion Painting Project”, curated by James Putnam, 41 artecontemporanea, Turin
2004: “Soap opera”, Changing Role, Naples; “GU”, curated by James Putnam – “Meridian Room”, National Archeological Museum, Naples
2002: Studio 34, Salerno
1999: Institut Français de Naples “Grenoble”, Naples
1998: “Medium”, Sala Lazzaretto, Naples
1997: ISSP (Institute of higher studies for Planning), Naples
1996: “I quaranta ladroni”, in collaboration with Studio Trisorio Gallery, greek-roman aqueduct of Naples underground, Naples; “Happening”, projection of a skeleton on a giant facade of Salita Santa Maria Apparente using a simple slide projector, Naples
1995: “Le nove muse e i nove poeti”, curated by Massimo Sgroi, Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples; “Pierre-Yves Le Duc”, curated by Massimo Sgroi, Art Now Gallery, Capua (Italy); “Le nove muse e i nove poeti”, Villa Gallotti, Naples; “Pierre-Yves Le Duc”, Grand Hotel Excelsior, Ischia
1994: “Cenacolo”, Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, Naples
1993: “Pierre-Yves Le Duc”, Pick & Paik Club, Naples; “Pierre-Yves Le Duc”, exhibition dedicated to artist Alfredo Bovio di Giovanni, Pick & Paik Club, Naples