Perrotin is dedicating its second monographic exhibition on the French artist Yves Laloy (Born in Rennes, France in 1920; died in Cancale, france in 1999) in its Shanghai space, marking the artist’s first presentation in Asia.
Yves Laloy's work is characterized by a multiple plastic vocabulary through geometric compositions of great pictorial audacity and figurative paintings borrowing themes from Surrealism. The polyphony of this hard-to-classify œuvre and its unconventional curiosity invite us to look at these paintings today in a different light. They are replete with the mysteries of the cosmos and the unconscious.
Trained as an architect, Yves Laloy turned definitively to painting in the early 1950s, which had a great influence on his technique. Even before using paints and brushes, the artist traced the slightest shape and contour of his compositions with a pencil directly on the canvas laid flat, using a T-square and with the help of rulers, compasses and triangles. Then, mechanically, he applied a light and precise pictorial layer, often without modeling and shadow. The color palette is very vivid, playing on contrasts and very often expressing itself with violence or passion.
In the mid-1950s, several paintings reflect Yves Laloy’s stylistic complexity: on the one hand, a line of triangles and circles evokes a rigorous, rhythmic geometric abstraction; on the other hand, primary and undulating forms create a biomorphic world that he animates with vivid, contrasting colors. This pictorial sophistication, as well as the humor and pun in the more figurative works, were particularly appreciated by André Breton and the Surrealist artists.
Saturne pas rond is one of the works composed by Yves Laloy close to Surrealism.The figure is fragmented and cut into small pieces by vivid colors. One of the two eyes has become a crimson dot, while the other, wide open, seems to be more realistic, elaborate and detailed. Saturne pas rond is undoubtedly comparable to Pablo Picasso’s portraits of the 1930s. However, Yves Laloy’s character seems to be more grotesque with his grimace and recalls the work of the Surrealists whose theme of the mask is recurrently treated, playing on the different appearances of the individual. Yves Laloy was very attracted by this mystery and this double nature of a mask.
The sea is a central element in the life and work of Yves Laloy. Based in Cancale, Brittany, he was known for his miraculous fishing catches even with rudimentary means. The sea was also the subject of his first compositions (in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s): he was interested in both the light on the waves and the small fishing boats moored near the beaches. A few years later, the sea was still present in part of his work, which is constituted of a broader repertoire of forms. Described as biomorphic, it is a universe of organic and underwater forms, of half-real and half-imaginary creatures in which, in certain series, purely geometric elements are mixed.
While Laloy’s spiritual dimension is forcefully expressed in the work, another singularity is clear, even to those looking at it today: he was a “sampler” of extremely heterogenous influences, in a way that is ultimately quite unconventional in postwar art.
The exhibition is accompanied by the presentation of a series of Modernist furniture Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret created as part of their design for the Indian city of Chandigarh between the 1950s to 1960s.The trademark V-shaped frame in these pieces of furniture echoes the geometric composition from Yves Laloy’s visual practice. This collaboration is realized with the support of Gallery Sohe (Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou).
Born in 1920 in Rennes, France
Died in 1999 in Cancale, France
After an education as an architect, Yves Laloy turned to painting in 1950 and stared to be exhibited in the surrealist galleries in Paris. His work is characterized by a multiple plastic vocabulary through geometric compositions of great pictorial audacity and figurative paintings borrowing themes from Surrealism. André Breton discovered his work and supported the artist with admiration from 1958 until the end of his life. He chose a work by Laloy to illustrate the cover of his famous book Le Surréalisme et la Peinture, which he republished in 1965. The artist was particularly influenced by non-Western art, especially that of the Navajo in America. He let himself be guided by forms that multiplied and that led him on a personal quest that was above all spiritual. Writing, in the form of calembours, is sometimes included in the composition of his paintings and drawings. In 2004, Yves Laloy was the subject of a major monographic exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes, France.