February 16, 2019

Les Lalanne @ Kasmin Gallery, New York

Les Lalanne
Kasmin Gallery, New York
Through March 9, 2019

Kasmin presents a new exhibition of work by French sculptors Les Lalanne. Designed in a unique collaboration with world-renowned landscape architect Louis Benech, the presentation kick off the year’s programming at Kasmin’s recently opened flagship gallery in Chelsea, New York (509 West 27th Street).

Over forty sculptures by Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne, each hand-picked by Louis Benech, transform the interior of Kasmin’s newest gallery space in an installation featuring passageways reminiscent of the artists’ studio garden in Ury, France. The exhibition includes one of Claude’s rare chandeliers, Structure Vegetale avec Singes (2012), as well as a Miroir (2010)—a work from a series famously collected by Yves Saint Laurent for his “room of mirrors” in Paris. Francois-Xavier’s iconic monkeys (including Babouin (1984/1990) and the large-scale bronze Singe Avise (grand) (2005), a herd of the artist’s sheep, and his Oiseaux de Marbre (1974) chairs (originally made for legendary art dealer Alexander Iolas) explore the contrasting solidity that can be found in the natural world.

Louis Benech, who has designed the exhibition in collaboration with Kasmin and Claude Lalanne, says of his long-standing relationship with the artists: “I often had to work in places with sheep grazing, I mean, Lalanne’s sheep grazing—in Meautry, La Mormaire, Montfort-l’Amaury. Thereafter, I rapidly met Claude and François-Xavier. They were designing with a friend the Jardin des enfants above the forum des Halles, right behind the church of Saint-Eustache. One day, we left ad lib to Ury for dinner. I thus discovered the grace of Claude’s garden, with dogwoods, hostas, and self-sowing hogweeds—which she uses for her sculptures and jewels. From that moment on, we consistently saw each other at least two times a year. Most of the time during a plant fair in Courson. It was there that Claude and François-Xavier usually found the plants flourishing in their garden, adorning Claude’s table or setting themselves in bronze or brass for an eternity of happiness. I miss François-Xavier, but Claude’s fantasy and voice lift my spirits up and bring back in memory the unique bond uniting them.”

ABOUT LOUIS BENECH
Over three decades, Louis Benech has designed, planted and maintained some of the globe’s most grand and historic estates including Paris’ Jardin des Tuileries and the Chateau de Versailles (the latter is the first new garden in the grounds since the 18th century). With over 300 projects in countries such as Korea, Panama, Peru, Canada, the United States, Portugal, Greece, and Morocco, Louis Benech has consistently managed to achieve a distinctive harmony between the new design and its architectural and natural environment. He is considered to be France's most revered landscape designer.

ABOUT LES LALANNE
Known individually and collectively since the 1960s as Les Lalanne, the couple have developed a style that defines inventive, poetic and surrealist sculpture. Having rediscovered the Renaissance art of casting forms from life, then employing contemporary electro-plating techniques, Claude Lalanne achieves a delicacy and sensitivity in her work unparalleled in cast bronze. François-Xavier Lalanne similarly found inspiration for his works in nature. In his words, "The animal world constitutes the richest and most varied forms on the planet." His subjects consist of a menagerie of animals, stylized forms oftentimes married with functionality.

Les Lalanne have exhibited in New York on Park Avenue and at the Getty Station; have been the subject of major retrospectives at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris; included in the sale of the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Jacques Grange; and are in major collections including the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York, the Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou and the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the City of Paris, the City of Santa Monica, and the City of Jerusalem.

KASMIN GALLERY
www.kasmingallery.com