Once again, the JGM. Galerie is pleased to announce a Lalanne exhibition. This time our objective is to pay special homage to François-Xavier who died in December 2008. With Claude Lalanne, we decided to dedicate a much larger space in the gallery to François-Xavier to exhibit his last works designed in 2007 and mostly created in 2008. They are the sculptures that most often illustrate his favourite subjects, the animals of his well-known bestiary: monkeys, sheep, birds, rhinoceroses, which inspired in him the variations in shape and changes in scale. In addition to these, his last sculptures, the exhibition also includes the well-known rhinoceros desk of 1966 made out of beaten copper and welded by him.
Since their first exhibition in 1962 at Jeanine Restany's gallery, then later, at Alexandre Iolas's gallery, the Lalannes have never exhibited separately although their work is completely different. A perceptible thread links the differences between them to form in the eyes of the viewer a harmonious homage to nature and beauty.
In his very extensive book on the Lalannes (published by Flammarion) Daniel Abadie writes, "the work of Claude Lalanne, like that of François-Xavier Lalanne, evidently has, under their joint signature, its specific identity – it is not really possible to confuse their very different approaches to sculpture – moulding and assembling for her, design and construction for him – nor their different styles – classical and architecture for François-Xavier, organic and baroque for Claude. However, in the eyes of the public, the unity of their signature has for a long time been enough to make their works indissociable, as if they came out of the same mould."
Claude Lalanne is exhibiting a smaller number of recent sculptures, but which joyfully reveal her great creative vitality, if judged in particular on the very large Choupatte or the crocodile seat. With the huge success of the sale of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collections, the world has discovered the status they accorded to the Lalannes and the place that they occupied at the heart of the works of art collected during their lifetimes. Thus the name of Lalanne has once and for all been recognised as associated with those of the greatest modern artists.
It is therefore a great privilege to be able to exhibit these sculptures, which are imprinted with the same magic as those of their beginnings, in which games between use and form, lyricism and rigour, plant and animal, find a balance that expresses the most palpable part of the Lalannes' work, the purest emotion before the beauty of nature depicted by art.
François-Xavier once wrote (quoted by his daughter Dorothée Lalanne in the book by Daniel Abadie), "If there existed a planet where plants moved around on legs, you would see the grass run away when a cow approached, unless, on this planet, the animals were firmly rooted like an oyster to its rock. As a result the rooted animal would be eaten by the mobile plant, and the plant would become a carnivore. It is then that the animal would be the plant. Perhaps in the end we live on another planet". These words summarise the world of the Lalannes and the living surrealism that inhabits their work.