Lost Friends, 2014. Plaster, metal, and fabric, overall: 400 x 400 x 185 cm.
Photo: Blaise Adilon

Alienating Effects: A Conversation with Guillaume Leblon

Guillaume Leblon’s works are difficult to categorize, occupying the space in between things. He considers his sculpture and installations to be like “fleeting memories, blurring the boundaries of real and surreal,” with “a strong and seductive material presence.” He takes a poetic approach to space, choreographing compelling spatial narratives that exploit the tension between absence and form to achieve a potent sense of ephemerality and the uncanny.

Over the years, he has shifted from found materials, remnants, and organic matter to aluminum, stone, and resin. Always invested in temporal concerns, Leblon sees this evolution as a transformation of the work’s relationship to time.

Leblon has exhibited across Europe, as well as in the United States and Mexico. His recent solo exhibitions include “There is a man and more” at S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium (2018), and “UNTANGLED FIGURES” at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver (2016–17). After many years of living and working in Paris, he now works and lives in New York and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Robert Preece: Your work has been described as challenging to categorize. Looking more closely, what strikes me is your use of materials and form. I see subtle contrasts and subtle textures. Many of your works appear dreamy, like mirages, with long-enduring focal points. They are a bit magical. Do you do this consciously? Are you capturing a moment, and then not?
Guillaume Leblon: My works are like fleeting memories, blurring the boundaries of real and surreal. I want to create installations and sculptures that have a strong and seductive material presence and allow me to tell new stories. They are objects in which past and present converge and the evanescent and tangible merge. I am interested in exploring the space and the atmosphere of places and things with works that modify our perception of time and space. I don’t want to simplify discourses, but to develop a new sculptural landscape that favors a poetic relationship to space and the world—an active, mobile, open relationship, with questions concerning time, absence, and memory. Whenever I exhibit my work, I am drawing a landscape within the space, which involves viewers and leads them through different possible points of view. This makes it more intimate. For example, in THERE IS A MAN (2016), viewers are guided through an unstable landscape, an uneven surface made of turned-over carpet. They are then invited to walk over a smoother surface, which absorbs the sound of their steps—revealing their presence within the whole display . . .

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