Critics’ Picks

View of “Guy Limone,” 2014.

View of “Guy Limone,” 2014.


Guy Limone

Centre de Creation Contemporaine Olivier Debré (CCCOD)
Jardin François 1er
February 15–June 1, 2014

Shortly after finishing his studies at the École des Beaux Arts d’Aix-en-Provence in 1985, Guy Limone made his first installation using the hand-painted model-train-set figurines that have become one of his signature materials. Affixed directly to a white wall in a circular formation, Seul 1% des français rêve de devenir premier ministre (Only 1 percent of the French dream of becoming prime minister), 1987, launched the artist’s ongoing series of “Statisiques.” This work is also the point of origin for his current mid-career retrospective, which focuses on this particular subset of Limone’s diverse oeuvre.

Maintaining a consistent size (the diameter of each of the “Statistiques” is nearly six feet, Limone’s height), the artist avoids monotony by changing the background color, how he paints the figurines, and whether the circular formation is installed flat on the wall or bent around a corner. For 59% des français sont partagés entre l’attrait d’un monde meilleur promis par la science et la méfiance vis-à-vis des dérives d’une recherche qui échapperait à leur contrôle (Fifty-nine percent of the French feel ambivalent, caught between the appeal of a better world promised by science and their concerns about the misuse of research over which they have no control), 2006, Limone chose a sandy brown background for a beach scene featuring men, women, and children huddled under beach umbrellas, paddling in boats, and lazing on lounge chairs. Evoking the Brazilian soccer team’s 2002 World Cup victory, 57% des Français estiment que l’Union européenne n’est pas un menace pour l’identité de la France (Fifty-seven percent of the French think that the European Union is a threat to the French identity), 2002, features an AstroTurf-hued background and figurines painted red, green, and white with tiny numbers on their backs.

The lengthy titles of the “Statistiques,” eleven of which are on view here, are culled from published statistical studies. When titling each new work, Limone cites a percentage that corresponds to the total number of works in the series. (The title of the second of his “Statistiques” describes 2 percent of a population, the third, 3 percent, and so on.) By neither directly commenting on nor illustrating these random facts, however, the artist encourages the viewer to appreciate each wall installation as a 3-D pointillist color study rather than a narrative scene.