Curator François Piron
Guillaume Leblon, Parade - Palais de Tokyo, Paris
Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France https://palaisdetokyo.com/exposition/parade/
Parade is Guillaume Leblon's first retrospective exhibition in Paris. For the occasion, he has designed a display that unfolds both inside and outside the Palais de Tokyo, including onto the esplanade that overlooks the Seine. As a sculptor, Guillaume Leblon does not conceive objects to be looked at, but rather seeks he likes to create a place, like a theatre set, both intimate and public, physical and mental, through which the public can wander. For this exhibition, he is creating a new version of his work Face contre terre (Face down, 2010-2022), which is made up of hundreds of items of furniture and scrap pieces of wood that together compose a materialist landscape that is a floor to walk across, but also the base for a series of sculptures mounted on a rail that create the sensation of movement, like figures on parade.
Every exhibition by an artist is on some level a form of self-portraiture, and this is especially true for Guillaume Leblon, in whose œuvre autobiography holds a central place. For this exhibition, he re-interprets his work, producting new links, recreating past works and mixing them with new productions.
The title of his exhibition plays on the double meaning of the term "parade" in French. In one sense, shared with English, it suggests staging an event which can be either carnivalesque or authoritarian. In French, it also suggests subterfuge, feint or trickery. It reflects in this way Guillaume Leblon's work as a whole, which offers a vast repertoire of sculptural vocabularies from statuary to assemblage, from organic forms to architectural construction, whilst at the same time deploying mystery and ellipsis: his work is not summed up in themes or discursive figures, but instead composes with what is visible, with a perception of the world and a history of forms, with emotions and sensations.
His work at times strikes a melancholic note, which leads him to unsettle the rigorous neo-classical layout of the Palais de Tokyo's esplanade by barring it with an uprooted tree and littering the basin with dismembered umbrellas in a scene of catastrophic disruption that echoes the uncertainties of the present and its turmoil, both societal and climatic.