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Loïc le Groumellec


"Les Reposoirs de la procession"
March 9 - May 11, 2019
For Le Groumellec the megaliths are more than a direct source of inspiration, they are what the bottle was to Giorgio Morandi: a pretext plucked from the real world, able to delve into the ultimate meaning of painting. The persistent presence of these patterns is therefore explained both in the Italian master’s works, and in those by the French artist. By doing and re-doing the same painting - never resulting in the same one twice - all sorts of possibilities and infinitesimal variations are duly probed to attain the very essence of shape. The quest for sensible minimalism, wherein the unexpected foibles of manual work are embraced, and where repetition is never blindly systematic, brings Le Groumellec's work, and its repetitive brush markings, closer to that of Niele Toroni, an artist to whom he often alludes. The trace, as a concept, reappears in the Écritures series: enigmatic concentric arches emerge on a brown background that vibrates with luminosity thanks to the layers of diluted paint applied to the canvas. These signs, always originating from Brittany’s imaginary, echo the wall engravings on the megalithic funeral chamber at Gavrinis, the purpose of which archaeologists have not yet deciphered: decorative or linguistic? For us therefore, they remain un-codified writings, a pure form void of meaning. This is how Le Groumellec's body of work carries along the relationship between creation and absence. The imaginary it refers to is comprised of enigmas and emptiness. The menhir is a primitive construction whose purpose we do not understand, and the signs engraved on Breton cairns are traces of a language that has lost its code, any communicative power having been waived.
A great mystery, therefore, animates Loïc Le Groumellec’s work. The incomprehensible presence of these massive figures in the series of the Mégalithes, as well as the hypnotic energy of the new ones in Écritures, endows them both with great spirituality that recurs even more tangibly in the Chapelles/Reposoirs works dispersed throughout the gallery rooms. Like ephemeral aedicule, built in general by rural people to shelter statues of the saints at each stage of the Troménie of Saint Ronan (one of the oldest religious processions in France that takes place annually in Locronan, Brittany), these wooden structures frame and protect the Écritures. His keen attention to aspects of folklore, and his efforts to revitalise both their abstract and ideal value, bring Le Groumellec’s approach closer to that of Constantin Brancusi who also used symbols borrowed from Romanian folklore in his artistic process; Brancusi stands amongst Le Groumellec’s major references. He turns back therefore to the archetypical concave shape of the cave or the hut. Generally associated with the desire to protect something precious, it hails back to a notion of sacredness and spirituality that many cultures all over the world share as well. In Le Groumellec’s work, the chapelle/reposoir do not only make the painting sacred as an object itself, but the act of painting also becomes a symbol of artistic creation. These receptacles, and their reference to pilgrimage, become metaphors of the path the artist follows as he searches for the ultimate essence of his art.
Loïc Le Groumellec was born in Vannes, in Brittany, in 1957. He graduated in 1980 from the École de Beaux-Arts in Rennes and in 1983 the Galerie Yvon Lambert in Paris holds his first solo exhibit. His work belongs to prestigious private collections, as well as the collections of the CAPC in Bordeaux, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes, the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris and the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville in Paris. They have also been shown by important international institutions amongst which are the Nouveau Musée national in Monaco, the Institut Français in Cologne in Germany, the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Swizerland, the Musée d’art Contemporain in Montréal, Canada and the  Juan Miró Fondation in Barcelona, Spain. The Galerie Karsten Greve has been representing the artist's work since 1989. Loïc Le Groumellec lives and works in Paris.
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