Laurent Millet
La Méthode

September 12 — October 26, 2002


La Méthode is Laurent Millet's newest body of work, a series of photographs that portray fragile, fantastical houses on the shore. For the first time, Millet pairs his black and white photographs with color images. Constructed of found objects, these small, inanimate buildings have a life of their own; some sprout legs of rusted wire or gnarled branches from their brilliant orange and yellow facades. Others reveal intricate diagrams and enigmatic messages scrawled across the surface. Also on display will be the recent series Les Cabanes, black and white photographs captured with an antique wooden box camera, toned with selenium, tea, or walnut stain, and presented as diptychs or triptychs. Millet created the cabanas from the remnants of fishermen's shacks on the coast of Portugal; they offer sanctuary for the imagination.

Laurent Millet has been exhibiting his work internationally for the past twelve years. His first solo exhibition in the United States, The Petite Machines & The Wind Traps, opened three years ago at the Robert Mann Gallery. Margarett Loke of The New York Times praised Millet's "unabashed, almost innocent, delight in the low-tech, magical interactions between man and nature." Jean Dykstra of Art on Paper observed that the artist's "quixotic creations" offer "a quiet comment on the dual nature of photography — recorder of reality and purveyor of fabulous tales." Photographs from these early bodies of work are featured in Lyle Rexor's recent book Photography's Antiquarian Avant-Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes.

A new sculptural installation is also included in the exhibition. This untitled piece is comprised of a series of small houses from three to over six feet tall, constructed of wire and vellum, clustered in the center of the gallery space. Each structure glows from within by slowly revolving multicolored images of skyscrapers. This installation provides a three-dimensional counterpoint to Laurent Millet's photographs.

The New York Times
October 18, 2002
Ken Johnson

Using raw materials like cardboard, found sticks, wire and paint, Laurent Millet, a French photographer, cobbles together playful, semi-abstract sculptures and then photographs them at the beach, where they stand in shallow water against backgrounds of sea and sky.

Printed matte on typewriter-size pages and pinned unframed to the gallery walls, the pictures look rather like photocopies, some in color, some in black and white. But the pictures are more than just documents of whimsical ephemera. In each a conflation of two and three dimensions sets up an experience of cognitive uncertainty. Linear images of boxes or rudimentary wheeled vehicles may appear at first to be drawn by hand. Then you see that they are photographs of actual wire constructions. And then you see that apparently three-dimensional constructions are actually flat, with wire lines in perspective giving the illusion of depth.

In the color prints, things get more complicated as the artist paints illusory lines and shadows on flat cardboard shapes. In some of these it takes considerable study to figure out what is real. The background of sea and sky, which reads, as do the sculptures, as both flat and recessive, adds a cosmic dimension to the artist's philosophical riddling.

Mr. Millet has also constructed a poetic sculptural installation in the gallery: a group of simple wire-framed paper buildings with revolving colored lights inside that cast window grids that continuously slide across the paper walls. It's a refreshing, low-tech respite from all the overproduced photography and video clogging galleries these days.

The New Yorker
September 23, 2002

If Paul Klee and Alexander Calder got together to make photographs, the results might look something like the whimsical idylls created by French photographer Laurent Millet. Sculpture is set up and photographed outside, often standing in shallow water. Millet's surreal and fragile beach contraptions—such as 'La Méthode #43,' a circle of orange wired to yellow sticks, all teetering under a cardboard sail—might not last long, but the photographs have a tactile life of their own.