Picture, if you will, three green velvet-wrapped stools — maybe not the most usual set of seats, but certainly nothing to sneeze at on their own. Pair those with a gilded Pinocchio figure and a sawed-off nose, however, and you get homeware that treads the line between form and function, art and furniture.

That delicate dance is the modus operandi of French artist-designer Hubert Le Gall, whose work is on display at the Cuturi Gallery from now till June 22. 

Entitled “Daydream”, the exhibition features pieces such as the aforementioned piece, fittingly titled Pinocchio Bench: Art Is a Lie That Tells the Truth (2024). When speaking about his work, Le Gall has been known to refer to himself as both Pinocchio and Geppetto, characters from the classic children’s novel — his role oscillates between that of a creator and a storyteller. 

Indeed, while he is no doubt a master of form and craft, Le Gall’s work goes beyond aesthetics. It might seem strange to say tables and chairs can hold a deeper meaning, but it’s certainly true here; underneath the instantaneousness of each piece’s visual appeal is a myriad of themes, ranging from primality to fallibility and desire.

A surrealist thread connects Le Gall’s pieces, which often subverts traditional forms, contorting them with a childlike imaginativeness. Take, for instance, Pasiphaé (2022), a reference to the ancient Greek myth of its namesake goddess. In this piece, a bronze bull, representing a minotaur, is formed into the shape of a chaise longue.

Another standout piece in the exhibition is Chaos-crocodylus (2023). A metallic crocodile, suspended from above, is split in half; an explosion of flowers, in matching bronze as well as pink, emerges from its bisected torso. Though the scene is no doubt morbid, Le Gall’s expert navigation between hard and soft, as well as his unique penchant for surprise, adds a sense of wonder to the piece.

Perhaps the most visually imposing piece on display is L’Éternel Printemps (2018), Le Gall’s “modern interpretation of paradise”. Cast in bronze, this cabinet — which weighs some 500kg — takes the form of a contorted horse, in the style of 17th-century Japanese netsuke. A bronze apple sits before the piece, representing a forbidden fruit.

From a floor lamp with a dog-tail rod to a console whose legs pool on the floor to form their own shadow, there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring pieces in Le Gall’s oeuvre. 

Each of his creations are made in extremely limited quantities, with typically no more than 25 of each put into production. Pieces are made at his centre of operations in Montmartre, Paris, in collaboration with local artisans. This rarity and quality of craft further adds to the demand that Le Gall’s work commands at auctions.

Cuturi Gallery is located at 61 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199937.

 

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