The Lake Arches
03 November16 December 2006

Laura Bartlett Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of The Lake Arches, the first exhibition in the UK by French artist Cyprien Gaillard.

“There is more poetry, more that is accidental…in a single tree which has endured the years and the seasons, than in the entire façade of a palace. One must ruin a palace to make it an object of interest.” Diderot (1767)

Cyprien Gaillard’s series Real Remnants of Fictive Wars are films of explosions in the landscape that the artist has carried out since 2001. Part V, on view in this exhibition, is a 35mm film that slowly pans the balustrade of a chateau, traveling against a growing cloud of smoke that erupts from distant trees. Aggressive and mesmeric, these acts of temporary vandalism unsettle and reinstate the composure of the classical environs.

Gaillard’s form of Land art has developed from within the urban landscape of housing estates and high-rise buildings outwards to the countryside and classical architecture, similar to Robert Smithson’s gradual move from the suburbs of New Jersey to the desert. Gaillard’s interest in disruption within the workings of the picturesque, in entropy and decay, has its roots in current political and ecological discord.

In Belief in the Age of Disbelief, Gaillard has introduced tower blocks into 17th Century Dutch landscape etchings. These post-war structures, once a symbol of utopian promise that have now come to represent racial conflict, urban decay, criminality and violence, have been seamlessly assimilated into a rural idyll. Some tower blocks have been positioned in the etching like a defiant medieval fortress, others as apocalyptic ruins. Like the paintings of Hubert Robert, admired by Diderot, who depicted ancient ruins and even the imaginary future ruins of the Louvre (1796), Gaillard comments on the relationship between romanticism and decay, and architectures’ inherent communicative power.

Also in the exhibition Gaillard will show Geographical Analogies—the artists’ collection of polaroids that deal with entropic landscapes, places that are eroding or de-composing. Displayed as if butterflies under glass, the Analogies’ crystalline formations belie an intricate, if exploded, taxonomy of concerns, from geopolitics to youth culture, geology to art history.

Cyprien Gaillard (b.1980) graduated from L’Ecole Cantonale des Arts de Lausanne in 2005. Gaillard will have a solo exhibition at Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2007.

In conjunction with the exhibition there will be a SPECIAL PERFORMANCE on Wednesday November 22nd at 7.30pm at the top of St. Guys Hospital, London Bridge. Lecture Theatre, 30th Floor. Please contact the gallery for more information.