Laurence De Leersnyder — La Fonte des Sables



Laurence De Leersnyder
La Fonte des Sables

Past: January 28 → March 2, 2016

A set of sculptures created at Jean Tinguely’s Cyclop in Milly-la-Forêt, summer 2015.


La Fonte des Sables is the title given by Laurence De Leersnyder to her set of works, to these four aluminium tripod sculptures that you get to see at the galerie laurent mueller and which lead us to two significant temporalities in the creation of these pieces. Firstly, this title takes us back to the genesis of Laurence’s invitation to the Cyclop. It was in May 2014 at an exhibition space in Berlin called « Nun » and created by a French couple. Laurence was part of a duo with another sculptor, Zoë Paul, under the commissioning of Marie Cantos. The literary obsessions of the commissioner, particularly with Victor Hugo, were the reason for the title of that first exhibition « What the Snow does in the North the Sand does in the South ». Here the titles echo each other through an analogy. The duo of artists who at the time were in Berlin, were suggesting a complementary work by opposition. Zoë had been spending her afternoons in DIY shops in order to design delicate shapes from industrial materials. Laurence had built three massive pillars made of earth which was an operation all at once simple and tricky as well as extremely fragile and because of the naturally friable material an accident with visitors seemed pretty likely and a part of the exhibit. The accident happened when one of the pillars collapsed during the opening exhibition and the earth spread in the entire Berlin art space which of course was all white. The earth was carried by the guests’ shoes, Laurence’s work was escaping from the « white cube »; it was roaming the streets.

Laurence de leersnyder   photo cyrille robin 17  low res medium
Laurence De Leersnyder, La Fonte des Sables III, 2015 (Exhibition view) Aluminium — 97 × 80 × 68 cm Photographie © Cyrille Robin

The German experience seemed to me to be opening a world of sculptural possibilities which resonated strongly with both the monumental post-industrial composition of Jean Tinguely’s Cyclop and nature; more particularly forests which are nature’s frame. Therefore I offered this residency invitation to the same trio of artists and commissioners for the summer of 2015, in the woods of Milly-la-Forêt; this leads us to the second temporality.

Laurence de leersnyder   photo cyrille robin 22  low res medium
Laurence De Leersnyder, La Fonte des Sables III, 0 Aluminium — 97 × 80 × 68 cm Photographie © Cyrille Robin

Laurence’s sculptural work is a search into the shapes that can be created by various materials, be it earth, plaster, concrete… she particularly likes the moulding process that lead up to the creation of her pieces. Once again, she shakes up the great questions surrounding sculpture: noble or poor materials, the opposition of hollow and full, the presence or absence of a stand. For this new series, Laurence wanted to experiment with a new material, metal, or aluminium as it happens, and therefore a new process: melting. We had to build an oven, buried into the particularly sandy ground of the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, in order to be able to perform the fusion of the aluminium, its transition to a liquid state. Around that oven, Laurence started to dig into the earth or the sand rather, to create moulds. She always used her body as a point of reference; the height of the mould would not be longer than her arm. She would lie on the ground to dig them. There was a physical connection between her and her model. The molten metal was then poured into the cavities in order to give it those organic shapes, those prints on the ground modelled by the artist. A counter shape of the original print made of grog (a mix of ground red brick, plaster and water) allowed the wedging of the metal onto the ground print. These explanations may seem laborious but they clarify the presentation of the works of art on site and the impression they had on me. The grog had to be broken to give way to the metal sculpture. The traces of ground brick and removed grog were spreading on the sand of the forest of Milly; they were dyeing it red and that vision appeared to me like an alternative way of going back to the Berlin exhibition.

François Taillade, director of Jean Tinguely’s Cyclop, Milly-la-Forêt

Laurence de leersnyder   photo cyrille robin 29  low res medium
Laurence De Leersnyder, La Fonte des Sables I, 0 Aluminium — 225 × 64 × 76 cm Photographie © Cyrille Robin
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