Loic Le Groumellec

Galerie Yvon Lambert

The paintings and drawings in this exhibition, executed in oil and lacquer on canvas or on paper, focus on the representation of a single theme—the megalith. The collection of small-format works were arranged like the stones of a Celtic cairn. The sense of isolation in the large-format works, like that of the menhirs in the desolate landscapes of England or Brittany engender an immediate sense of mystery.

Yet two decades of earthworks—the rocks of Richard Long, or the works of Michelle Stuart—have made us accustomed to analogies between contemporary artistic production, and the ritual monuments of archaic, even prehistoric cultures. Loic Le Groumellec’s works, however, specifically point to the massive exploitation of the symbol of the megalith, and the continued currency of this symbol in the Christian era. In some images the superdimensional megaliths, which are fixed frontally to the picture plane without perspective are topped by crosses, in other images they stand firmly, suggesting the primary form of a house.

Le Groumellec grew up in a small town in Brittany near the celebrated rock alignments of Carnac, and perhaps this informs his attraction to the megalith’s mysterious symbolism. His incorporation of the cross follows the progression whereby the Christian symbol was integrated into the web of Celtic and Breton legend.

Le Groumellec includes, half-erased in the background of his “Mégalithes” (all works 1989–90) a quote taken from a tract by Charlemagne, “. . . that he who, with sufficient warning, does not drive from his field the phantoms that lurk there, shall be dealt with as a sacrilegious person, and shall be declared anathema.” Could this be a veiled presentation of an exhortation that denies the holy territory of a culture and its various manifestations? Le Groumellec ruminates on the expression of the never-ending rebellion of the artist, reclaiming the right to his phantoms, and the right to sacrilege.

Anne Dagbert

Translated from the French by Diana C. Stoll.