It is in the aftermath of a house party, through watching his girlfriend check Facebook, or following a tourist group that Thomas Lévy-Lasne is most inspired. He explains that his work celebrates “le fait qu’il y ait quelque chose plutôt que rien” (the fact that there is something rather than nothing) and that he deliberately chooses banal subjects to bring out their essence.
The scene, or observation, is important in this collection, as is a conscious inversion of classical art constructs. The still-life is a table covered in cigarette butts, empty bottles and half-eaten food. The nude woman draped across the bed is armed with a Macbook and likes Diet Coke.
Lévy-Lasne does not appear to be attempting a social critique with his watercolour parties and oil-based domestic scenes. While each tableau is nearly perfectly captured, there is always something slightly off: the confusing torso of a body (the head outside the frame) or disjointed angles which make our eyebrows furrow for a second… There is a subtle hyperbolism in each piece that removes the collection from being classed as simply portraying contemporary society (yawn).
The gallery is hidden in a beautiful little courtyard behind a door in the Marais, like so many of Paris’ secrets. It’s a great size for a personal collection, and the L-shaped layout allows for an element of surprise, which was certainly what I received on my visit. On turning from my favourite piece Devant Kiefer, 2012, I can say with certainty that I was not expecting eighteen pencil sketches of fellatio. Not all, ok, but around 70%. Lévy-Lasne appears to have sketched what he saw from the lens of his webcam after several late-nights browsing the dark side of the internet. I’m guessing he had to turn off Google SafeSearch…
Despite this sexual voyeuristic surprise, I didn’t feel that the artist was looking for sensationalism. It’s about the other in the scene. A Harry Potter poster on the wall behind a torrid sex session, a moment of unexpected tenderness during bondage… Like with his watercolours, we don’t see what we expect to see. A sunset is just as potentially rich for him as an orgy.
This is why, I imareprésenter, de reconstruire une certaine logique du visible. (It’s about representing, reconstructing a certain logic of the visible, Lévy-Lasne)»gine, Lévy-Lasne has entitled this collection Visiblement. It’s about taking the banal, the carnal, the untraditional inspiration, and gently exposing the essence behind the individual picture. There is never nothing, if you’ll excuse the double negative.
« Il s’agit de représenter, de reconstruire une certaine logique du visible. (It’s about representing, reconstructing a certain logic of the visible, Lévy-Lasne)»
Visiblement is on @ Galerie Gounod is until February 23rd