Boats that float in the air, psychedelic tractors, flying habitats peopled by disturbing denizens – the world of Simon Laveuve is surprising in its singularity. Humour and desolation go cheek by jowl in clever visual jousts. But his creations, meticulously served by the work of the camera, meld perfectly with the moods of the moment, gaining in formal freedom in the course of his experiments, between nostalgia, despair and utopia.
In these sculptures-cum-models, time and space dilate, hollowing out silences that grow deeper and deeper, into emptiness and unexplored territories, growing into a vision of humankind, imaginary or of the future, always enigmatic. Simon Laveuve dredges the lower depths of our cities with assurance and impertinence so as to constantly renew his complex combinations. A strange atmosphere spreads, a mixture of chaos and gravity. Ruins and hamlets illumine his work. With infinite care and an assured art of detail he places each subject, each movement, each intimate friction. By turns, exuberance, aggression and romanticism all enrich these falsely improvised but carefully staged abstract landscapes whose relation to space is deliberately disconcerting. Moving between suspended moments and tensions, the dance of forms and colours seems bound for an explosion of violence. Simon Laveuve ranges across a range of possibilities that are at once dissonant, timeless and fragile.
The aerial masses of his dioramas assert themselves in a mix of questioning of place and signs, brutal statements and delicacy of line. The unique language, piling on its mute eloquence, goes from aggression to gentleness in an inventive mixture of wildness and beauty, playing on a subtle balance of gesture, manifesto and the representation of a magnificently dark macrocosm. The forms are diverse, resulting from bold but coherent exploration, harmoniously mixing the familiar with the dreamed, shadows with light. We sense the sublimation of time. We feel the experience of life – of suffering too, no doubt; a murmured incantation, and a long detour to reach this mode of expression full of emotions. But the keys to unlock its mysteries are withheld.
Simon Laveuve delineates this miniature theatre with an imperial sense of distance, with impeccable settings and figures on the alert as if no voice from elsewhere could distract them from their occupation. His personal questioning infuses his approach. He tells a story like a walker finding his path, constructing a narrative as he carefully observes his contemporaries. The excesses of an exhausted consumer society, walls maculated with graffiti and ads, everyday objects, leisure and pleasure, a hostile environment and generous nature – all intersect and exchange. At once chimerical and material, his dioramas are the scores of a polyphonic world made of fury, silence and love.
« Poetic chaos » text by Bernadette Caille – Translation Charles Penwarden
Published in the book « Small Scale, Big World: The Culture of Mini Crafts » Sandu, 2020