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Issue 215

Artists’ Artists: Christodoulos Panayiotou on Pierre Leguillon’s Fetishistic Objects

Panayiotou on how the French artist’s sculptures ‘look straight into the eyes of the viewer’

BY Christodoulos Panayiotou in Profiles | 11 DEC 20

‘Christodoulos Panayiotou on Pierre Leguillon’s Fetishistic Objects’ is the first in a series of articles in which we asked nine artists to chose a colleague whose work has been on their mind. 

1. Eyes are seeing organs; they provide vision. Hands are grasping organs; they make. Sometimes, eyes make do with things that hands make and, at other times, hands make just to be viewed. Often, hands fail to do, but succeed to make.

I have always admired Pierre Leguillon’s work: a vicious cycle of short circuits, in which seeing and making gloriously fail to keep any promise of stability. His ‘Museum of Mistakes’ (2013–ongoing), which collects items from posters to folk art, is a protest against the authoritativeness of value. Leguillon might be the opposite of a fetishist.

The French have a beautiful word, l’admoniteur: a character (or an object, as Leguillon would say) in a painting that looks straight into the eyes of the viewer, inviting them to do something, reminding them of their gaze. Everything that Leguillon touches becomes an admoniteur. Or is it he who stares at us from behind his objects? Perhaps he is a fetishist, after all.

‘Surface and Custom’, 2018, exhibition view. Courtesy: the artist and Shiseido Gallery, Japan
‘Surface and Custom’, 2018, exhibition view. Courtesy: the artist and Shiseido Gallery, Japan 

2. Let me describe a work by Leguillon that I love. While visiting the Mexican city of Mérida, the artist happened upon a small bar whose shoddy walls were painted in broad brushstrokes of red, blue, yellow and black. A year later, he travelled to Yame in Japan, on a quest to render the forms of the Mérida mural on kasuri textiles, using the intricate ikat dyeing technique. Working with kasuri master Kyōzō Shimogawa, he produced textiles emulating the mural’s motley brushstrokes in abstract forms. With each resulting pattern differing slightly from the rest, the uniqueness of the fabric led Leguillon to divide it into 37.5 × 100 cm ‘paintings’. The first length of fabric was sold for 170 euros per metre (determined by the cost of the frame) on a first-come, first-served basis, from 6pm on Saturday 18 May 2019. The price of each subsequent metre was raised by five percent. By 6pm on Saturday 22 June 2019, Leguillon had sold 22 metres of his fabric 

Main image: Pierre Leguillon, A Wall Painting in a Corner Bar-Shop in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, 2017, photograph. Courtesy: the artist

Christodoulos Panayiotou is an artist. His work is included in ‘Do It’ at Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA (until 15 December), and A4 Contemporary Arts Center, Chengdu, China (until 6 December). He lives in Limassol, Cyprus, and Paris, France.