by Shraddha NairFeb 29, 2020
While globalisation comes with many advantages, it is arguably also the sole reason for widespread homogenisation. If you travel to large metropolitan cities across the world, they tend to look quite similar in their landscape. High-rise buildings, multistoried glass-facade offices, and perfectly manicured hedges might offer some comfort to the travelling businessman but they also pose imminent risk of destroying the local culture. With interventions in the form of colourful structures, French architect-turned-artist Cyril Lancelin creates space for a new culture altogether in today’s concrete jungle.
Before setting up his independent studio in 2016 to further his artistic journey, Lancelin practiced architecture for 15 years after formally studying the field and graduating in his hometown, Lyon. Lancelin would share images of his work on Instagram and eventually started using 3D software to create renders of imaginary sculptural interventions in public places. He received much praise and appreciation for his works and eventually began to receive commissions from clients to bring those concepts into reality. Lancelin started to contact manufacturers to realise these ideas and down the line decided to quit his architectural practice altogether and shift his focus to art. Inspite of this shift, he has had very little trouble adjusting to a new approach and method of working. Lancelin explains to STIR, “Art is a different, faster process. We don't have to wait for an inquiry or a commission, we can work in anticipation. I use the things I have learned in the field of architecture, such as the use of modules and elements, to be able to adjust a work according to a budget or a changing dimension. Artists read architecture books and architects read art books”!
Lancelin’s work uses what he calls “primitive shapes” like spheres, cubes and pyramids to create immersive installations, which are bright and colourful yet minimalist in form, usually displayed in the midst of large glass and concrete buildings. This juxtaposition creates a stark contrast in the landscape, creating a sharp change in the surroundings. His sculptures are immersive yet open, playing with the boundaries of indoor versus outdoor. He repeatedly uses single motifs to create large structures, occasionally moving outside the traditional forms to incorporate a form from pop culture, like flamingoes or watermelons. Lancelin says, “I use a lot of inflatables. This allows me to make very large sculptures, and to be able to move them easily. I like it when a sculpture faces different sites. I work with the notion of artificial landscape. The change of site allows us to explore this theme. I also use metallic spheres for my half sculptures. The metal has reflective properties and can be more permanent than the inflatable ones. It is very complementary”.
Lancelin currently has a number of works on display as well as in progress. A Half Pyramid was on showcase in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, as part of the Wavelength, an exhibition at Artron Art Museum. At Flutter Experience in Los Angeles in USA, Sphere Stack by Lancelin can be found on display. He is also currently working on an immersive installation using metallic spheres to be exhibited in Lisbon, Spain and thereafter another artwork in Basel, Switzerland. Lancelin is simultaneously preparing for projects in Paris, France and Melbourne, Australia. In another project based in the USA, Lancelin will present a new sculpture which will introduce a new material into his oeuvre. This year he is also expecting to launch limited edition series of small sculptures which will be sold on the internet.