Turning a corner or two takes me into the self-contained universe of French artist Laurent Le Deunff at Galerie Semiose. Curious and ambitious, the show is full of mysterious narratives set somewhere between a hunting cabin, a natural history museum (or could it be an homage to the nearby but locked-down Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature?) and a public garden. Hanging on one of the walls in the first room is a giant necklace made with what looks like huge sharks’ teeth; propped up on small metal rods atop a plinth are sculptures of various slugs and less identifiable creatures; on another wall, wooden bas-reliefs depict moles and badgers making their way through underground passageways. Stepping into the next room we enter a clearing: the ground is covered in soil, moss and trees, populated by sculptures of animal heads on plinths that look like public memorials to dead species. Seemingly carved in wood, the sculptures are in fact moulded in cement, and it turns out the sharks’ teeth are made of wood – small deceptions that further confuse the viewer in search of context. In drawings that line the wall of this garden, we see a cat in the artist’s studio, surrounded by some of the work presented here. There are no traces of the artist (barring the hand that made the works), or of humans in general. Is it an homage to the reign of other animal species and the artist’s feline companion (an exhibition text quotes William Burroughs’s view of cats as ‘as psychic companions, as familiars’), or are we projected into a future where all that remains of animals are representations?

Louise Darblay