Jorge Luis Borges imagined the universe as a library, one “composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries.” 1The bookshelves in Guillaume Lachapelle’s rigorously detailed, architectural miniatures are similar imaginings of knowledge, infinity, and the meaning of books.
When Lachapelle predominantly sculpted with wood, the library was already present in his work. Take for instance the delicate shelves in Maneges (2004-2006). In 2009, he began to employ 3D printing and since, he has drafted bookshelves as white, intricately printed sculptures. Fissure, 2009, a bookshelf whose centre collapses, like quicksand, into a void; Le piège, 2009, an isolated balcony that protrudes from a bookshelf; Évasion 2, 2011, a fragile staircase that leads to a corridor library. Despite their sculptural form, these pieces never feel static. They suggest something beyond the shelves. Books are often described as gateways to other worlds and the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster exemplifies this literally. In her 2013 La Bibliothèque clandestine at Palais de Tokyo what at first appears to be a bookshelf is actually a rotating door that opens into a secret gallery.
For Lachapelle’s sixth solo exhibition at Art Mûr, Visions, we encounter again the library. This time, he employs single-sided mirrors to exaggerate a sense of the infinite, getting closer to Borges’ indefinite library, such as in Awaiting Knowledge (2013). We confront the same architecture in Metro (2013) and Last Night (2013). A library, a subway car and a hallway from the Titanic, respectively, all melt into an intriguing yet alarmingly dark void. Where does the darkness at the end of hall lead to? Lachapelle’s miniatures act as a threshold between what is seen and not seen.