“Everyone can recognize animals... You don’t have to explain what they are or mean.” Ancient Egyptian and Greek gods, Celtic Mythology, medieval bestiary, Indian totems... animal symbolism has been engrained in all cultures and religions. We are mesmerised over and over again.
Lalanne's whimsical sculptures achieve record prices at art auctions. His work became very popular in 1976, when French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg published his album with the title and cover inspired directly by one of the sculptures - "The man with the head of a cabbage".
Inspired by Brancusi, Ernst, Man Ray and Duchamp, Lalanne created his own brand of surrealism, inhabited by herds of sheep, iron rhinoceroses, dinosaurs and baboons. His work was also influenced by ancient Egyptian and Assyrian art, seen everyday at the Louvre, where he worked as an attendant for a short period.
Lalanne's works are almost impossible to classify, balancing somewhere on the border between fine art and design. They were created with childlike joy and surreal sense of humour, and I think this is why we find them so intriguing...
images via: The Selvedge Yard