More and more we know that the whole system is not going in the right direction… But sometimes such a serious subject deserves a little derision and humor.Laurent Allard
The following interview forms part of a series where I invite a number of contemporary artists to each reflect on their personal history, meaning and philosophy, and how those are expressed throughout their creative process.
This week I talk to Laurent Allard, an artist and art director based in Paris, who specialises in 3D and AR experience.
Tell me about your piece, ‘Horse Studies’.
You can see a rubber horse nailed in the background, as if frozen in its gallop. Another horse (a pony?) is in the foreground, this one is made of chocolate. On each side are a pallet and an apple core made of ice.
In this work I wanted to talk about art and representation in a funny way. To represent a thing it’s a bit like nailing it in its movement – in order that a horse can become, in the end, a little cute chocolate pony ready, to be sold. In this need to represent there is a somewhat desperate quest represented by the palette, which seems to suffer what the brush does to him. As for the apple, it represents the object par excellence, both symbolic and common.
It took me a long time to decide on the apple material, to decide to do it as a melting ice, which expresses the sense of urgency of the creative process.
Obviously when you say it like that, the whole thing seems very serious, but I like that the form is out of sync, and has something unexpected and funny. If everything is first degree it becomes boring, even ineffective.
Are you guided by any essential philosophy in your creative expression?
It’s hard to say. I think I’m figuring it out as I go along. Creating an image is a complicated process, sometimes I want to do something without telling myself that I follow a particular philosophy. The basic idea is the starting point, but it is unique each time (at least it seems unique to me). But little by little, as I build up the image, I often end up relating it to my work in general. So I am unconsciously following an inner process that takes me in one direction rather than another.
Looking back at these works, what you do think about them now?
I’m still at an early stage in my production, and I’m still experimenting and expanding my technique, so sometimes when I look at some of the older work, I can see paths that I’ve since stopped following, or other things that I would have improved or pushed further. But sometimes it also reminds me of ideas I forgot to try. I always like to project myself without looking too much at what has already been done, but sometimes it’s important to build on what already exists, to know where we are.
Feeling lost, stuck, and without meaning are experiences we all face as human beings. Why do you think that is? How do you approach those feelings in your work?
I think that this somewhat desperate feeling of powerlessness that we can feel in our societies, is part of the things that unconsciously guide my work. The characters (mostly cartoonish objects, made of porcelain or candles) and the objects are often in a state of distress (melting, stretching…) but this distress is mocked by the grotesque form my images take and the ideas they illustrate.
Everyone has their reasons for feeling this way, but I think that in general there is a need to find meaning in what we do. More and more we know that the whole system is not going in the right direction. Feeling blocked is not being able to project yourself in what is proposed to you as a society. But sometimes such a serious subject deserves a little derision and humor.
What is the most unsettling work of art you’ve come across?
There are several, but the first one that comes to mind is “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein. Obviously it’s not contemporary, but I find that the anamorphosis in the middle of the painting is really something I can’t explain to myself. I think that it remains, even today, a unique experience, both by its perfect technical (even scientific) execution, but also by the artistic risk that it must have been. I have never seen an object like this, placed on another plane of perception in order to hide it at first sight, to better make it reappear when everything seems crushed and unimportant. Perfect art.
If there were an artwork that depicted your current experience of the world, what might it look like?
To be honest, I really don’t know. Having an artistic production serves to begin to answer this question I guess.