Past: November 15 → December 23, 2011Entretien — Guillaume Leblon Après sa nomination au Prix Marcel Duchamp 2011, l’artiste investit la Fondation Ricard du 15 novembre au 23 décembre 2011, et participe à l’exposition Pour un art pauvre, présentée jusqu’au 15 janvier 2012 au Carré d’Art de Nîmes.
For about ten years now Guillaume Leblon (b. 1971, Lille) has been one of the most singular voices on the international art scene. His personal exhibition at the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard — the first devoted by a Parisian institution to the work of the artist — coincides with his selection in the competition for the 2011 Marcel Duchamp Prize and his participation in the 11th edition of the Lyons biennale.
With Leblon, this field is a poetic universe in which forms, spaces, and materials slow down the flow of time, materializing history and memory, and where objects exist in a threshold between the everyday and the abstract.
Through sculpture and installation, Leblon explores a kind of intermediary space between the scale of the object and that of the environment, establishing a relation between the two. On the one hand, some sculptures seem to register the specific characteristics of the space surrounding them, as though they were sensitive organisms or fossils of the environment sheltering them; on the other hand, environmental installations appear as expansions of some properties inherent in every material. With an extreme formal sensibility, Leblon brings architecture and materials in a dialogue; visual and tactile characteristics, which otherwise would not be revealed so readily, emerge as a result.
Whether sculptures or interventions in space — sometimes it is not so easy to distinguish the boundary between the object and its environment — the spectator is confronted with something which, though it looks familiar, does remain unknown. In Leblon’s work, objects and structures often appear that share a certain kinship with the domestic environment and the dimension of habitat: partitions, small portions of architecture, staircases, countertops, shelves. Their everyday appearance, however, is contradicted almost immediately: Leblon’s works end up looking like remote memories of something which, if it was familiar once, now risks becoming abstract altogether. Like flotsam, they produce an ambivalent relation with the spectator: approaching their own experience of familiarity and banality, only to evade recognition the next moment.
In other instances, by contrast, materials rather than forms retain some dimensions of memory, betraying the fact that time wears things away: surfaces appear eroded, many volumes look as though they are about to collapse under their own weight, while other installations are founded on the dissolution of elements such as ice, or water infiltration. Leblon’s work seems to want to show the traces of what resisted the passing of time, which is perhaps why most of his works involve a certain instability, as if their current state was the record of a moment of survival, by definition temporary. It is not a coincidence, either, that many works repeat some gestures coming from afar and originating in traditional practices of sculpture and installation: rather than extracting, modeling, accumulating, and composing, Leblon seems committed to handling and constant care, as if his intention was to preserve rather than add up.
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