Louis Gary’s “plaster palace” is made of bas-reliefs representing human and animal figures as well as plant and mineral landscapes. The artist, who also creates “all-round” sculptures, that is, those that are isolated in space and do not have a background, speaks of his works by nicknaming them “domestic sculptures”. In fact, according to him, insertinging a work in an inhabited place is equivalent to amalgamating it with it. Sculpture, as well as drawing, represent for the artist a tool for illuminating and helping us to see our domestic habitat in a new light. Of course, it is no coincidence that the artist uses a term that biologists use to define the set of environmental conditions whose quality determines the survival of a species.
Art is part of the essential conditions for the well-being of the human species and this in an extremely profound way. In fact, Louis Gary specifies that the works can also become a meeting point with all “our inhabitants”. The aspects that make up the personality of each of us therefore, although sometimes very different, can come into contact through art. For this reason, Louis Gary elaborates every project in detail, creating almost customized works, for the place where they will be exhibited. His goal is to give the feeling that things “work”, without being able to explain why, in fact, he says, “they do works and not speeches”.
The works in question also fascinate for their pure lines that refer to the spontaneity of the drawings we did as children, the most genuine and sincere. But behind this apparent simplicity, the artist’s experience and reflection are strongly felt as well as the reference to the work of famous predecessors such as the Belgian cartoonist Hergé, father of Tintin. A confluence of clues that question and destabilize the viewer for an instant, but which ultimately give him that feeling, which one had as children, that nothing is out of place in this world, but that all contributes to make it an immense spectacle. It is no coincidence, therefore, that in order to define Louis Gary’s work, it has been compared to carnival, intended as a joyful party in which freedom is experienced, but also of supernatural and contemplation.
Born in 1982 and trained mainly in relation to drawing and photography, Louis Gary worked as a carpenter at various construction sites at the beginning of his career to support himself. Spontaneously he also begins to create furniture to furnish his home, he realizes so many objects to fill every space. He then becomes aware of the fact that his expressiveness is moving naturally towards the creation of works with a volume and begins to explore the figurative possibilities of sculpture. Although he does not consider himself a carver, the choice of wood and its derivatives as materials of preference is immediately evident for him. “It’s a matter of affinity”, says the artist, but also of practicality since not only he feel comfortable with the tools necessary for working with wood but he is also interested in the production industry of the latter and its variations.
The bas-reliefs proposed in the virtual exhibition “Plaster Palace”, visible on the website of the Semiose gallery, are significant in this global approach. Made of wood, polystyrene and a kind of mineral-based plaster, these works are made according to the technique used by construction workers specialized in facades, model makers or decorators of cinematographic and theatrical settings. The use of polystyrene in particular is decidedly significant of a vision that combines art and practicality not only because it is an easy material to model and assemble but also because it ensures a perenniality to the work while being breathable and waterproof and therefore immune to agents that could compromise its structure. As a covering, the artist later uses a simple glycerine-based paint whose colors partly recall those that were used to decorate the interiors in the 60s-70s, post-modern era.
If we add to what has been said the fact that the works of Louis Gary often have a functional aspect, one can legitimately ask if his work does not appear to be that of a designer. But the artist removes any doubt by stressing that beavers, while creating huts like designers, always remain beavers. The intent of Louis Gary is therefore to specify that his creations are not an information medium aimed at responding to specific requests, but are at the same time “the stages, the track and the result of an artistic gesture” and in particular of “a game”. A very important game, however, given its careful approach. On the other hand, as an essay once said, art cannot be improvised, breathed, lived, desired, loved.
Ilaria Greta De Santis
Louis Gary, Revelation, 2019. Styrofoam, plaster, paint 55 × 42 × 6 cm Photo : Louis Gary Courtesy Semiose, Paris
Louis Gary, Blood sausage, 2019. Styrofoam, wood, plaster, paint 49 × 41 × 7 cm. Photo : Louis Gary Courtesy Semiose, Paris
Paraphrasing Fellini, I will tell you that I am an oyster and my path is a grain of sand that is turning into a pearl. From law degree to art history degree at the Sorbonne in Paris. From the French capital I tell you about art.