Raphaël Zarka is a collector of sculptural forms. It’s almost as if could pin them up in a display-cabinet like butterflies. He seeks out old forms and brings them back to life using a modernized formal vocabulary, recording their new status in offbeat ways. In 2001, along with the artist Vincent Lamouroux, he created the Pentacycle, a curious contraption (half-bicycle, half-pedal boat) intended for use on the concrete rail built for the Aérotrain – a futuristic rail link between Paris and Orléans abandoned in 1970s, but part of which still remains in place.
The forms Zarka uses are modernist concrete ruins – often abandoned, with vegetation gradually re-asserting itself. There is something romantic about these neglected forms, reminiscent of works by Hubert Robert. Zarka calls them Les Formes du Repos, the title of his series of photographs charting these forgotten concrete structures. One of the forms is the rhombicuboctahedron used by the American modernist sculptor Tony Smith, but dating back to Leonardo da Vinci and a Renaissance treatise by his mathematician colleague Luca Pacioli.