Paris

Guillaume Leblon, Probabilité pour que rien ne se passe (Probability That Nothing Will Happen), 2011, wood, metal, glass, sand, 12' 6“ x 6' 3” x 2' 9 7/8".

Guillaume Leblon, Probabilité pour que rien ne se passe (Probability That Nothing Will Happen), 2011, wood, metal, glass, sand, 12' 6“ x 6' 3” x 2' 9 7/8".

Guillaume Leblon

Fondation d'entreprise Ricard

Guillaume Leblon, Probabilité pour que rien ne se passe (Probability That Nothing Will Happen), 2011, wood, metal, glass, sand, 12' 6“ x 6' 3” x 2' 9 7/8".

Covering the floor of this private foundation’s neat L-shaped space with twenty smooth sheets of fine, sand-colored linen, Guillaume Leblon, for the first time, positioned his sculptures in relation to a traditional painterly platform. The presentation of seven new and recent works, united by this common backdrop as a single textured and permeable composition, echoes the construction of the exhibition’s title work, Black Apple Falls, 2009–11. For this sculpture, punctuated by a darkened piece of fruit suspended from the ceiling by a thick piece of rope, Leblon arranged a series of objects across a rectangular panel laid horizontally across the floor and wrapped in black linen. He then mounted, on tiny wooden columns, eight rectangular panes of glass a few inches above the various elements taken from his studio, including a piece of plaid fabric, pencils, an X-Acto knife, and a miniature paper bush, each painted (or already existing) black or a shade of dark gray. The glass windows, positioned parallel to the black canvas base, framed various vignettes, defining tentative landscapes within a larger field of possibilities.

Meanwhile, Colette, 2011, a three-foot-tall cast-iron peg suggestive of a bent and rusty nail, seemingly pinned a corner of the exhibition’s underlying canvas in place. Projecting from the floor, the sturdy metal bar, in its tapering width and subtle curve, maintained the lightness of a quickly sketched line—a visualization of both a preparatory sketch and a solid sculpture in the round. Line has always been important in Leblon’s work, as in the juxtapositions of gently bending metal beams or found banisters with the sharp geometry of utilitarian cupboards, shelving units, or desks. This show included Probabilité pour que rien ne se passe (Probability That Nothing Will Happen), 2011, in which half of an apothecary’s wood and glass desk and shelving perched sideways atop a mound of fine pale sand balances the firm geometry of the furniture with the soft and blurring silhouette of the sand. Inside the desk, one sees what appears to be a large lump of dark green modeling clay wrapped in plastic. The presence of this packaging emphasizes the work’s inconclusive pliability.

Projected on a rectangular panel balanced on the floor and extending diagonally from an opposite wall, the short 16-mm film L’Enfouissement du crabe (The Burying of the Crab), 2009, shows a tiny crustacean as it burrows and emerges from a patch of wet sand on a quiet beach in Normandy. Bubbles created by the crab’s respiration generate brief ripples in the shallow surface between looped appearances of the jittery creature. On the back of the projection screen, Leblon again betrays a painterly sensibility in his selection of a piece of composite wood (recovered from the storage room of the foundation) dusted with loose pools of blue, pink, and orange spray paint—vivid echoes of the more subdued colors in the film. Poetically encapsulating the landscape that he created through the installation of his show, this work places value on surface, line, and color. By burrowing into this exhibition, lightly treading across its surface, and looking, recognizing, and remembering, Leblon’s audience, like the tiny crab, was complicit in the production of an ongoing and greater composition.

Lillian Davies