6 impasse saint Claude – 75003 Paris
and 76 rue de Turenne – 75003 Paris
January 8, 2022 - March 12, 2022


January 8 — March 12, 2022

Perrotin is dedicating its first monographic exhibition on Yves Laloy
(born in Rennes in 1920; died in Cancale in 1999). Some fifty works
will be on view in both gallery spaces on avenue Matignon and rue
de Turenne. Yves Laloy’s work has not been featured in a major exhi-
bition since 2004, in a retrospective at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in
Rennes. Two of his emblematic works from that museum’s collec-
tions will be exceptionally presented here.

Yves Laloy began his career as an architect, before turning definitively to
painting in 1950. From the start, he began exhibiting in Parisian galleries
devoted to Surrealism, which resonated with the wordplay and irony
nestled in his work. In 1958, André Breton orchestrated an exhibition for
him at the Galerie La Cour d’Ingres, and wrote a laudatory preface to the
catalog. A few years later, Breton selected his painting Les Petits pois
sont verts, les petits poissons rouges… (1959) as the cover image for his
book Le Surréalisme et la peinture. Laloy himself was never part of the
Surrealist movement; he developed his work around a multifaceted
‘plastic’ vocabulary, ranging from rigorous geometric compositions to
undulating, cosmogonic worlds. His works have been exhibited in Paris,
Milan, Basel, and within larger exhibitions devoted to Surrealism, including
the 1991 homage to André Breton at the Centre Pompidou. His
independent nature and the rarity of his work have bestowed him with a
fairly discreet artistic status, known mainly amongst lovers of 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.

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. [...]
In the early 1950s, various avant-gardes coexisted in Paris, some long
established, others more recent: lyrical abstraction, the abstract
landscaping of the New School of Paris, art brut, the miserabilism of
Bernard Buffet; while in the United States, abstract expressionism was
causing a revolution. Certain of Laloy’s paintings seem to be “more” of
one or another of these, but never in a confrontational way, and indeed
while we can often see similarities in his works of the 1950s and 1960s
to Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Auguste Herbin (who unveiled his “Plastic
Alphabet” in 1946), and above anything else, to the works of the painter
and tapestry designer Jean Lurçat, popular in Paris since the 1930s, the
particularities of these paintings is to summon all these sources at once,
“mixing”—as we say today—the contributions of one with those of
another, combining sequences from one with the DNA of another. In his
paintings, Laloy makes several languages coexist, each belonging to the
figurative or abstract universe, in compositions always, notoriously,
asymmetrical. And more importantly, he adds to theses universes a full
pantheon of influences from both the so-called minor arts and cultures
from beyond Western art’s conventional perimeter—thirty years before
William Rubin showed, with the exhibition “Primitivism” in 20th Century
Art at MoMA in New York in 1984, what can, in a certain light, unite
contemporary and tribal art. Thus, in Laloy’s paintings we see not only
sampling from Kandinsky, Herbin, and Lurçat, but patterns inspired by
Panamanian Indian fabrics, Incan potter, and Native American sand
paintings, an early celebration of the “Magiciens de la Terre.1”

Eric Troncy, extract of Vision, exhibition catalog Yves Laloy,

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