• LAURENT PERNOT
    We are miserable, but love suddenly, saves us
     
    But the sea takes
    and gives memory,
    and love fixes the eye diligently,
    and poets establish
    that which endures.
    ~ Friedrich Hölderlin, “Remembrance” (c.1800-1804)

     

    Galerie Marguo is very pleased to present We are miserable, but love, suddenly, saves us, an exhibition of new multimedia paintings and text-based sculptures by Laurent Pernot, on view at the Paris gallery from 10 September to 8 October 2022.
     
    The Romantic poets sought to articulate the monumentality of nature and historical time through the subjectivities of the individual, experienced via minute impressions and emotions that shape the human condition and our experience of this world. Pernot’s work echoes the Romantic impulse to synthesize the ordinary and sublime through lyricism and metaphor.
     
    For nearly two decades, he has been developing a distinctive formal language, nourished by literature, poetry, and mythology that probes questions of eternity, ephemerality, and memorialization across a wide array of media. Particularly important to the artist are the influential roles of fragility and love in such matters. These motifs course through his practice, like veins through marble, which are in themselves mere traces, formed by crystallized minerals deposited by water that once ran through the stone and evaporated.
     
  • Installation View

  • The Contemplations series

  • A sensitivity to the ontological energies of materials is demonstrated in the thirteen new paintings from the series The Contemplations,...
    A sensitivity to the ontological energies of materials is demonstrated in the thirteen new paintings from the series The Contemplations, inspired by Victor Hugo’s collection of poems by the same name that experimented with the idea of an autobiography in verse, drawn from the author’s memory and quotidian experiences. 
     
    From the Sky, 2022
    Painting on wood and marble
    60 x 45 cm (23 5/8 x 17 3/4 in)
    Weight: 8kg
  • Behind the Garden, 2022 (detail)
  • The pictorial abstractions are meticulously composed of inlaid wood and sourced scraps of marble that brim with the subtle tension of contrasting temporalities and temperatures inherent to these ancient materials. The washes of pigment that tint the wood indicate the accretive character of memory, with each new experience or passing moment coloring the ones before it.

  • It's All Between Us, 2022 (detail)
  • The idea is not to make paintings. What interests me is really to assemble colors, textures, to mix forms together so as to compose images. 

     

    — Laurent Pernot

  • Laurent Pernot, The Spring of My Feelings, 2022

    Laurent Pernot

    The Spring of My Feelings, 2022 Acrylic, varnish handpainted on cut wood and marble on wood panel
    186 x 140 cm (73 1/4 x 55 1/8 in)
    4 parts, between 17.5kg and 22kg each part
  • The depicted images are extracted from a wide range of art historical sources and techniques, from traditional Japanese stamps to Félix Vallotton, with varying degrees of legibility. On the whole, The Contemplations can be seen as units of an oneiric time, in which disparate geographies, eras, cultures and tempos have been suspended, or flattened into one plane, as though in a dream. 

    • Tsuchiya Koitsu, Maizuru Harbor at Night, 1936
      Tsuchiya Koitsu, Maizuru Harbor at Night, 1936
    • Ohara Koson, Five Egrets Descending in Snow, 1920
      Ohara Koson, Five Egrets Descending in Snow, 1920
    • Félix Vallotton, Coucher de soleil, 1913
      Félix Vallotton, Coucher de soleil, 1913
  • In the Reeds, 2022 (detail)
  • The Flight, 2022 (detail)
  • The Kiss Between Day and Night, 2022 (detail)
  • The Face of Dreams, 2022 (detail)
  • Memory is an important dimension in this series. First, there is this idea of fragmented elements that I am associating, intermingling to create a dialogue between different works and time periods in the history of art. In a way, this series is an essay on memory, a representation of what memory is as well as a work of memory. 

     

    — Laurent Pernot

  • Chrysanthemums, 2022 (detail)
  • The Tree of Crows, 2022 (detail)
  • A Rainbow Above the Tears, 2022 (detail)
  • I am particularly attached to scenes and subjects that suggest the ephemeral, that evoke the fleeting, suspended moments...which for me...
    I am particularly attached to scenes and subjects that suggest the ephemeral, that evoke the fleeting, suspended moments...which for me provoke a form of contemplation, a form of meditation.
    — Laurent Pernot 
     
    A Rainbow Above the Tears, 2022
    Painting on wood and marble
    40 x 30 cm (15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in)
    Weight: 2.2kg
  • A Rainbow Above the Tears, 2022 (detail)
  • Laurent Pernot, The Bay Before Sunset, 2022

    Laurent Pernot

    The Bay Before Sunset, 2022 Acrylic, varnish handpainted on cut wood and marble on wood panel
    100 x 45 cm (39 3/8 x 17 3/4 in)
    Weight: 13.5kg
  • The Bay Before Sunset, 2022 (detail)
  • Finally, a neon installation, from which the exhibition takes its title, anchors the collection of ideas gathered here, citing the...

    Finally, a neon installation, from which the exhibition takes its title, anchors the collection of ideas gathered here, citing the German Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin, an enduring source of inspiration for Pernot. Partially hand-painted in black ink directly onto the walls of the gallery, the sculpture is installed in situ, linking it to the time-space of its exhibition. Its neon elements read: “We Love Us”.

     

    For Pernot, like the marriage of marble and wood in The Contemplations, the universally abundant chemical of neon ensconced in hand blown glass offers a metaphor of the fragile, yet enduring and powerful force of memory, cast in the glow of love.

     

    We are miserable, but love, suddenly, saves us, 2022
    Neon light, India ink on wall
    50 x 140 cm (19 3/4 x 55 1/8 in)
    Edition of 3 plus 2 AP
  • ABOUT THE ARTIST

    Portrait of Laurent Pernot. Photo: Evgenia Smolianskaia

    ABOUT THE ARTIST

     

    Graduated from Le Fresnoy national studio of contemporary arts, Laurent Pernot has developed a polymorphous practice that explores human nature through the experience of time and memory. Contemplative and universal, discreet or sometimes spectacular, his artworks allude to a sense of timelessness through intricacies between the past, the contemporary and the future. His research draws as much from history and philosophy as from references to literature and poetry. The interactions between man and nature, memory and oblivion, the ephemeral and the eternal, or more recently human history and love, are among his major themes.

      

    His work has notably been exhibited at the Miro Foundation in Barcelona, the Sketch Gallery in London, the Long Museum in Shanghai, the MMOMA in Moscow, the São Paulo Biennial, and in France at the Louis Vuitton Cultural space, the Palais de Tokyo, the Maison Rouge, the Georges Pompidou Center, the Delacroix museum, the MAC VAL, the Pommery domain, and the Voyage à Nantes, among others. Laurent Pernot has been commissioned for several public works and received the prestigious SAM Prize for Contemporary Art in 2010. He is represented in museums, foundations and private collections around the world.

     

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