Born in 1971 in Lille (FR)
Lives and works in Paris (FR)
Represented by the gallery Jocelyn Wolff, Paris (FR)
Questions connected to time – How to think about change? How does the structure of new things come about? How does the present structure the fleeting temporalities of the past? – These are the questions which regularly crop up when I look at the sculptures, installations or films by Guillaume Leblon or visit his exhibitions. Here, I am not setting out a mode of understanding or analysis of Leblon’s work purporting to be definite, exclusive or “true”. It is obvious that these questions do not cover entirely or even tally exactly with the artist’s reasoning or approach, and they certainly are not exhaustive of the ways of seeing and getting to grips with his works. Undoubtedly, this is where the greatest strength and the extraordinary richness of Guillaume Leblon’s work – constructed since a dozen or so years ago – resides, in his capacity to resist ad hoc facile explanation, in his aptitude for only guaranteeing one single thing. None of the ways of fathoming his work and therefore of describing it comes closer than any other, none of them is therefore more “true” and does not escape that form of intellectual determinism about which the mathematician Borel wrote “It is nothing other than the hope of having something to find”.
So if we stick with things themselves, we might say Guillaume Leblon’s works are more often than not precise conceptual constructions which bring about poetic representations. His sculptures use immediately recognizable shapes or elements – a bench, a wall, a ladder, a deckchair, a stairway or stairs, a hoarding, a tree, a well, a chest or windmills, etc… In this way they show very clear images but without necessarily being easy to grasp. This contradictory experience results from the way in which Leblon introduces elements for each of his works, subtly affecting the familiarity we think we have with these objects. When he plays with the materials, the finishing, the size or the positioning of the works within the exhibition space, he upsets established relationships – that is to say historically, culturally and socially constructed – between the exceptional and the normal, the manufactured and the existent, the personal and impersonal, the ephemeral and the permanent, the old and the new, the quick and the dead…
Henceforth, Guillaume Leblon’s exhibitions become the sites of unprecedented articulations of objects, often heterogeneous but always compatible, sites with well-balanced dynamics, temporary and successive, somewhere between what is almost known and the barely known. They sketch unusual landscapes of objects and shapes where the temporalities clash, the past like the future plunging explicitly into our present.
More especially, these landscapes put the appearance of the new thing into shape which, as historical discipline well knows, always shows itself more easily than it either says or explains it.
extract Marcel Duchamp Prize’s catalog 2011
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