(adam štěch) One can now admire one of the most original approaches to design and fine arts in general from the second half of the last century in its complexity - a surreal and humorous production by the Lalannes is currently exhibited in the Museé des Arts décoratifs in the form of a large retrospective exhibition.
A bronze cabbage head with legs, a bookcase in the form of a huge rhino, and a flock of sheep as variable seating represent just a few examples of the tremendous production by Claude (b.1924) and Francois-Xavier (1927-2008) Lalanne, a name that stood for something very exceptional even in the decadent environment of French decorators from the 1960s-80s. The tradition of French surreal poetics played a fundamental role in the artistic development of both husband and wife who applied it on a non-decorative form. Thus, the artists found an essential motif in the organic world of animals and plants, inspired by the surreal visions of Max Ernst, René Magritte, plus mannerist and rococo paintings.
Claude took a more intimate and subtle role with her bronze vegetable statues and furniture pieces made from leaves and branches. Her husband became an example of eccentric and humorous thinking on sculpture and design with his monumental statues of animals – primarily monkeys, rhinos and birds – that combine sculpture with utilitarian functions. Despite their disparity, their productions symbiotically complement each other. There are even several creations in which their disparity vanishes. With a free connection of both female and male principles, their art and design predestined an exceptional position for both artists on the French avant-garde scene at that time and provided a wide collection of admirers and patrons for their work. The most important patron included fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, whose collection contained several of their pieces. Nowadays, their work on the speculative verge of kitsch and good taste ranks among the most prized collector items.
Rocking chair L´oiseau bascule, 1970, design: Francois Xavier Lalanne