The Lalannes

The sculptures of Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne are in their different ways unique.

Metamorphosing the most familiar subjects into a quasi-surrealist world, their creations, amassed over the last 35 years, bear witness to two of the most original artistic imaginations at work today in France.

While Claude imagines a fabulous and intimate world where crocodiles entwine the backs of chairs, cabbages sprout legs and feet, and apples break into a smile, Francois-Xavier produces full-size, articulated beasts in metal- a rhino which doubles as a secretaire, a hippo bathtub, a gorilla safe....

Associated originally with the Nouveaux Realistes of 1960s Paris, the Lalannes have developed individual but related styles.

The works of both artists describe a freedom from the classifications, as well as from the physical spaces of the artistic academy.

Designed for living in and around, certain sculptures form landscapes which find echoes in French gardens of the eighteenth century, in Art Nouveau organic structures, and even in the illusions of scale found in modern theme parks.

Known internationally today for their collaboration on architectural gardens and the art of topiary, the Lalannes have created a rich and fascinating world which will delight connoisseurs, and enchant those unfamiliar with their work.

Fully illustrated in colour, including specially commissioned photography of the Lalannes' most recent works, this beautiful book is published to coincide with a major exhibition of their creations to be held at the Chateau de Bagatelle in Paris in 1998.

Their works have been shown at The Art Institute of Chicago (1967), Centre national d'art contemporain, Paris (1975), The Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1976), and the Chateau de Chenonceau (1991).

Daniel Marchesseau

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