Morgane Le Guillan
From the Topographic to the Organic and back
There was once a village called Sacy-le-Petit (60) - 484 inhabitants living in various properties, which together take the form of a star, with the village green at its centre. Nothing very special about that, you might think, until Morgane Le Guillan got to work on it, that is.
Inspired by microbiology and the recurring forms of living cells, Le Guillan’s world is organised around a population of anthropomorphic sculptures, familiar but disturbing. Some of these, filled with sand, look like unfinished formless dolls; others, more globular, covered with phallic pimples, resemble the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Folded in the palm of the hand, the material sometimes retracts and takes offence, like the folds of the female sex, or spreads out in big gelatinous drops.
The Park (2002), one of her more ambitious works, is strange and disturbing, but also attractive because of its candy colours. The work consists of organic and sensual forms piled at the centre of a huge playpen. Flexible and soft, the skin of these forms is made of latex in tender shades of pink, yellow, green, blue and purple. Round and supple as marshmallow, they accumulate on top of one another in a formless heap. Metaphors of childhood desires, these poignant hybrids look like babies from another world.
Invited to the Château de Sacy, Morgane le Guillan wanted to widen her apprehension of the micro-organic to the scale of this small municipality. From the plan of the village, she imagined the possibility of a body divided into as many cells as there were plots of land.
Each one, determined by a colour, would have a particular function, sometimes vital, sometimes only of entertainment value. A certain ambiguity would be suggested by their titles: “aire d’intensification” or “espace des gametes victorieux”. This organic representation of the village of Sacy is laid out as a carpet game on a latex backing. A single rule has to be followed: appropriate the spaces occupied by the vital functions and defend the village against viral attacks from outside. Pink and green balloons resembling inflated foreskins, represent the villagers and visitors. Barefoot, or armed with sticks, they are invited to come and fight it out.
The inhabitants must try to re-appropriate the alveoli which represent the plots of land where their houses and gardens are located, and in doing so occupy flesh and blood “zones de turbulence”, whether to do with the lungs or the digestive system, or risking a fall into the urinal pocket. Players may choose the play-areas they find most attractive, from the nerve centre in mauve, to the dark pink “centre vasculaire”, which also represents the space where the exhibition takes place. Again, expressive and attractive colours play an important part in Le Guillan’s work. Pastel tints have a double edge: they have the innocence of childhood, of candy and summer, representing temptation, but, at the same time, their sweetness and naivety symbolise the ambiguity of seduction and pleasure, for under their uneasy beauty lies a battlefield.
With the help of this ingenious game, Morgane Le Guillan interrogates the life of a small village, in the hope that it will become a meeting place, even if the inhabitants and visitors do occasionally collide.