Toni Grand (b. 1935) is widely regarded in France as one of their most original and inventive sculptors. He has exhibited regularly there over the last twenty years and had a major one-person show at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1986, but this is the first time his work has been seen in this country. Since 1977 his works have been constructed through the combination of fibre-glass resin with a natural material, initially wood, then stones and animal bones; the synthetic material mimicking the wooden element of the piece. This became Reparation 15 Juillet 1987, and he continued to use eels in his work for the next six years. The works in the current exhibition are all from this period.
Fish, which suggest constant movement, are paradoxically fixed and rigid in the work, often used apparently as supports and stabilising elements. In Entre 49 et 115 centimetres, the fish, rather than being contained by the fibreglass trays, seem instead to be holding them up and in the large installation Du simple ad double, the cylinders are held in balance by the weight of the eels.
Grand’s work is characterised not only by its sparseness and refusal of any spectacular effect, but also its compelling strangeness and quiet humour.
Exhibition organised in collaboration with the Jeu de Paume, Paris and supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, the Association Française d’Action Artistique and Visiting Arts, with assistance from the Cultural Service of the French Embassy, London.