« An architect like the others »Is the first solo exhibition of Laurent Millet to the Binome Gallery. The artist presents two new series in which he also reveals for the first time his practice of bichromate gum. Hybrids, his photographic works take root in space via other mediums, such as sculpture, drawing, or in situ installation. The making of the image, and by extension of the imagination, is at the heart of his plastic research. Straddling narration and more formal characters linked to architecture, he also questions the place of the artist in the creation process.
The search for a shelter in which to project oneself is at the basis of Laurent Millet’s work. It explains the original Small coastal machines series (1997) and a number of subsequent works. Among the latter, some take the cabin as a model, others turn to architecture and its history.
This is the case of the three series brought together in this exhibition where we can discern references to architectural modernism, to its summary volumes and their interlocking, but also to characteristics specific to some of its architects. Structures of transparent planes dialoguing with plants, the cyanotypes of Schloss im Wald zu Bauen (2012) thus echo the glass architecture of Mies van der Rohe which, after the war, found its culmination in the Farnsworth House in Plano, a pavilion in a natural environment. Perhaps more indirect evocation, the prisms of gelatin sheets in primary colors from the Children’s Corner (2014) series seem to refer to the dreamed or built homes of neo-plasticists Theo Van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld. Finally, the cardboard constructions of Un architecte comme les autres (2020) would be even less specific if Le Corbusier’s earthen face did not appear on several occasions.
Summoning these references does not have, for Laurent Millet, the value of a comment. In the Corbusean series, the presence of the dog does not mean to assimilate the “machine to live” to a niche or, to take up the critics of the Radiant City and spin the animal metaphor, a “giant hutch for guinea pig tenants”. The figure of the dog is the result of a coincidence that started the series: like the schnauzer to which Le Corbusier was so keen to link two volumes of Don Quixote with his skin, Laurent Millet’s basset hound is called Pinceau.
This playful relationship with references manifests itself just as much in the treatment it reserves for them. They take the form of precarious, poor and imperfect models which also evoke construction games for children, some of which, like the polychrome glass blocks of Bruno Taut’s Dandanah or the painted wood pieces by Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, were designed by architects and designers of the period. With Laurent Millet, modernist architecture becomes domestic, even vernacular.
However, this appropriation is not limited to forms. It is also a matter of identification. The series An architect like the others does not in fact have the systematism of the two others which decline these arrangements from image to image. Alternating black and white and color, photographs of sculptures and staging, it takes on the appearance of a small theater of the absurd with sets as elementary as the models in which the artist makes furtive appearances and leaves traces of his readings. The sketches are beyond comprehension, but the series makes the artist an architect like the others whose desire to build he shares.
However, it will be understood, it would be less for Laurent Millet to project, like the early Corbu, a “contemporary city of three million inhabitants” than to tinker, like the one at the end, a shed on the edge. sea.
Its name could be Le Refuge
Born in 1968 in Roanne, Laurent Millet lives and works in La Rochelle. He also teaches at the Angers School of Art and Design (TALM). Nadar Prize 2014 for The
Enfantillages Pittoresques (Filigranes Editions), Prix Niépce 2015, member of the Casa de Velazquez (2007 to 2009), among other awards, his work has been the subject of numerous publications and exhibitions – Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, BnF , European House of Photography, Museum of Natural History, Rencontres d’Arles, Niépce Museum of Chalon sur Saône, Rouen Photographic Center… – including a first retrospective at the Angers Museum of Fine Arts in 2014, and a second scheduled for 2021 at the Malraux Museum in Le Havre. His works are present in prestigious collections in France (BnF, FNAC, Mep …) and in the United States (Los Angeles
County Museum, MoMA in San Francisco, Chicago Art Institute, Museums of Fine Arts in Houston and Santa Fe…) where he is also represented by the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.
He joined Galerie Binome in 2019, which is organizing his first solo exhibition, Un architecte comme les autres in 2020 (November 10 – December 19).
Hybrids, Laurent Millet’s photographic works take root in space via other mediums, such as sculpture, drawing, or in situ installation. Out of time, they explore a multitude of printing techniques, ambrotype, salted paper, cyanotype, gelatin silver and very recently bichromate gum. The making of the image, and by extension of the imagination, is at the heart of his plastic research. Straddling narration and more formal characters linked to architecture, he also questions the place of the artist in the creation process.
Laurent Millet: An architect like the others
January 12- February 27, 2021
19 rue Charlemagne 75 004 Paris