James Lee Byars | the artist
Born 1932, Detroit, USA.
Died May 23 1997, Cairo, Egypt.
Original artworks, prints, exhibition posters, monographs, books, collectibles.
The Perfect Silence brings together a group of Byars works spanning the length of his career: three large-scale black ink drawings from his early years working in Japan; The Little Red Angel, a large floor sculpture composed of three hundred and thirty-three hand-blown red glass spheres; a group of carved marble sculptures in wooden vitrines, reflected in mirrors; and the American premiere of The Death of James Lee Byars, a spectacular room clad entirely in gold leaf, containing a gold sarcophagus-like form on which the artist’s co-ordinates are marked by five crystals. In the original installation of The Death of James Lee Byars at the Marie Puck Broodthaers Gallery in Brussels, in 1994, the artist himself performed inside the gold room, lying on the floor in a gold lamé suit and black top hat, as he stated later, "practicing death." At the end of the performance, he replaced his presence with five crystals. For Byars, gold was a symbol of both light and sacrifice, leading ultimately to death, an omnipresent theme in the artist’s work.