Twenty years after the birth of space exploration (Spoutnik - 1957) and ten years after the first man set foot on the moon (Apollo 11 - 1969), something remarkable happened. Independently of each other a few visual artists suddenly realised that there was something missing: Art.
So, in the seventies “Space Art” appeared in the United-States as well as in France and in Germany.
Pierre COMTE ranks among those pioneers. ”Space Art” is a complex domain demanding knowledge outside the world of art in order to be able to develop convincing ideas and the creation of such works usually demands an “astronomical” budget. This is why there are so few visual artists specialised in “Space Art” and why the number of works is so limited.
Pierre COMTE started his career as a graphic designer in the late fifties. He was the co-founder of the movement called “Action Graphique” which influenced contemporary style. Then he worked as a film maker on the fringe with his “cinégraphismes”. He also made short-length films occasionally shown along with films by famous film makers such as Luis Bunuel or Claude Chabrol. At last he is the one that originated the idea of “composite” pictures for the performing arts (Paris Opera), publishing or newspapers.
Next he set about kinetic art, creating in particular the “MUR des VENTS”, which can still be seen in Paris.
Next he moved onto Land Art with his ”STRUCTURES de FUMEES” and in 1979, he launched upon “Space Art” focused on three fields of research: “Terre-Espace”(Earth-Space), “Espace –Terre” (Space-Earth) and “Espace-Espace”(Space-Space).
“TERRE-ESPACE” consists of the installation of huge signs on the ground visible by astronauts in orbit round the Earth or detectable by observation satellites.
The first project named “HORUS”, devised in 1979 is a circle made up of 24 floating prisms visible by astronauts 400 kms from the Earth.
“SIGNATURE de TERRE” was created in 1989 with 16 black squares measuring 60 meters on each side. The installation covered an area of 390,000 square meters. This most accomplished work of art was signed in October 1989, using a snapshot taken from the Satellite Spot moving about at a height of 830 kms.
The “TRIANGLE du PACIFIQUE” is an extreme project on the scale of the Earth itself: 14 solar reflectors set on 14 coral atolls make up a triangle with each side measuring 7000 kms in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.
Originally, “Espace Terre”were satellites intended as events, visible to the naked eye from the Earth. To achieve this result Pierre Comte devised inflatable structures in outer space: the reflecting satellites ARSAT (Art-Satellites).Then something unforeseen happened when engineers looked into uses of this artistic concept. For example: the project SPC-AX, a huge self-propelled structure harnessing and transforming the spatial solar flux into electric power.
Those inflatable structures also led to the Biospace program, that is to say the emergence of a real spatial architecture based upon spherical shapes, an ideal solution for a place to live in zero Gravity environment.
As for “Espace-Espace”, it is pure art in orbit with works intended for people operating in outer space. Microgravity provides lots of attractive uses in the techno scientific field.
Pierre COMTE also wants to show that microgravity offers an aesthetic interest as well. His Zero G Art works, motionless when on the ground, start to move unaided, once they are beyond the influence of gravity. The astronauts Claudie HAIGNERE, Michel TOGNINI and Philippe PERRIN discovered they had a playful quality.
One of Pierre COMTE’s creations, “PRISMA”, is permanently in the International Space Station (ISS).
A 7 minute video shows the three fields of research of Pierre COMTE.
As it has already been mentioned on the homepage, Space Art projects usually require considerable resources and so need financing.
Currently two projects are in the pipe line. A 142000 square meter installation called “GENERATION COSMOS”, a huge spatial symbol aimed at the younger generation and a Zero G.ART, called “TRIO G.”, exploring new possibilities.
Any form of support would be welcome to advance those two projects.
Pierre COMTE : 9 Avenue de Villiers 75017 PARIS
33(1) 43 80 61 35 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pierre COMTE also works in the field of spatial prospective within the framework of Prospective 2100 Group and for the Astronautics Committee of “Aero-Club de France”.