For his first solo exhibition, Behold a figure, Serpentine, London-based artist Louis Morlet presents five clay and latex sculptures, a new video work and an accompanying sound piece. All the materials used to build his sculptures, as well as the instruments with which his eerie sonic accompaniment to the show is recorded, come from clay unearthed during nightly jaunts into London parks. These covert missions to essentially steal surplus material allow the artist to confront his woes with capitalist society in as banal a way as possible.
Representing attempts to understand the psycho-geography of his surrounding city, for Morlet, the sculptures seek an essence of place by ontologically describing landscape through material. Abstracting this landscape and transforming it into something new feels Frankenstein-esque: these sculptures constitute morphed, manipulated and surreal interpretations of place. Whether skin-like, latex light-boxes or a slender and useless clay spear or spade, Morlet’s sculptures exacerbate futility, perverting our associations of what might be expected from a reliable piece of weaponry by using clay, a material associated with fragility. Furthermore, digging up “new relics” posits the artist’s notion of “instant
archaeology” while simultaneously formulating an affront to the passage of time as we understand it.