Le Gun & The Black Squid — La Catastrophe


Drawing, installation

Le Gun & The Black Squid
La Catastrophe

Past: November 4 → December 23, 2011

Le Gun are the artists Neal Fox, Robert Rubbish, Stephanie Von Reiswitz, Chris Bianchi and Bill Bragg. Le Gun was founded in 2004 by a group of MA graduates from the Communication Art and Design course at the Royal College of Art, London. Also, Le Gun is an independent narrative illustration publication and provides a common ground for both emerging and established artists, illustrators, writers and poets.

The Black Squid (Le Calmar Noir) were a group of surrealist artists based in Paris who broke off from the core group of the surrealists in 1924 in disagreement with André Breton’s manifesto and their continued use of colour. François Lardon, Thomas Le Turk, Olga Tiktokova, Diego Mangina, and Éduard Lezard were talented artists but little known outside their small bohemian circle and have since faded into the margins of art history.

The group believed that dreams were always in black and white, and that the exclusive use of black and white in art would make the everyday into a dreamscape. They claimed they had simultaneously dreamed of a giant black squid who imparted their manifesto. Apart from exploring the squid as a dream symbol for latent sexual desires, they revered black ink as a liquid of creation.

Not long after the split, on September 25th 1925, the five artists held a black and white banquet, the exact motivations behind which remain unclear. They consumed a sumptuous meal and varied drinks, and strange sounds were reported to have emanated from the room. All five artists left the banquet intact and went their separate ways, but catastrophically all five found their demise in various ways the very same night.

The debris of the mysterious final dinner was documented in minute detail. No poison was found, or evidence of a suicide pact, and hypothesizing about what actually happened that night was for a while a popular pastime in fashionable salons. Soon however the whole event faded into oblivion.

The original document detailing the exact layout of the room & the objects within it still exists.

As a group of artists working in black and white, Le Gun feel a strong connection to the Black Squid group and were particularly intrigued by this age old mystery. As well as reproducing large scale portraits of the Black Squid’s elusive members, based on the group’s original ’exquisite corpse’ drawings, Le Gun has attempted to recreate the final supper before the catastrophe, which will be shown alongside the Black Squid’s last known surviving painting.

Besides having collective exhibitions, performances and the self-titled Magazine, Le Gun have produced large-scale communally executed drawings in London, opened a curiosity shop, cooperated with Paul Smith for a clothing line, produced a music clip for Pete Doherty’s Babyshambles and recently did an impromptu window display/exhibition, talk,etc at Arrtco Collection in Beijing, China.

  • Opening Friday, November 4, 2011 6 PM → 9 PM
Suzanne Tarasieve, Loft 19 Gallery
Map Map
19 Paris 19 Zoom in 19 Paris 19 Zoom out

Passage de l’Atlas
5, villa Marcel Lods

75019 Paris

T. 01 45 86 02 02

Official website


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

The artists

  • Neal Fox
  • Chris Bianchi
  • Stephanie Von Reiswitz
  • Robert Rubbish