Fri 7 Apr 2023 to Fri 26 May 2023
Artist: Yves Laloy
Perrotin is dedicating its second monographic exhibition on the French artist Yves Laloy (Born in Rennes, France in 1920; died in Cancale, France in 1999) in its Shanghai space, marking the artist’s first presentation in Asia. His work is characterized by a multiple plastic vocabulary through geometric compositions of great pictorial audacity and figurative paintings borrowing themes from 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.
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 (Paris, France), 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 (Paris, France). In 2004, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes organized the first major retrospective devoted to the artist. His independent nature and the rarity of his work have bestowed him with a fairly discreet artistic status, known mainly amongst lovers of Surrealism.
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. ” 
The exhibition will be accompanied by the presentation of a series of Modernist furniture Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret created as part of their design for the Indian city of Chandigarh between the 1950s to 1960s. The trademark V-shaped frame in these pieces of furniture echoes the geometric composition from Yves Laloy’s visual practice. This collaboration is realized with the support of Gallery Sohe (Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou).
 André Breton (1896-1966) was a French writer and poet, the co-founder, leader, and principal theorist of surrealism.
 Magiciens de la Terre was a highly influential exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou and at the Villette, Paris in 1989, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin.
 Eric Troncy, extract of Vision, exhibition catalog Yves Laloy, Perrotin, 2022.