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Exhibitions

Paris Dispatch

Anna Sansom's round-up of the winter shows.

By Anna Sansom / 19th February 2020
Studio nendo, ‘Ame Nochi Hana’, 2020 at Bon Marché Rive Gauche COURTESY: Studio nendo

Studio nendo, ‘Ame Nochi Hana’, 2020 at Bon Marché Rive Gauche
COURTESY: Studio nendo

Studio nendo: ‘Ame Nochi Hana

Le Bon Marché
Until 16th February 2020

THIS WINTER, STUDIO NENDO from Tokyo brought poetic wonderment to Le Bon Marché with its installation in the department store’s atrium. Titled ‘Ame Nochi Hana’ (meaning “rainy and later bloomy”), it was composed of 120 variously sized raindrops that transform into a field of white flowers. It follows previous installations by the artists Ai Weiwei, Chiharu Shiota, Leandro Erlich and Joana Vasconcelos.

“The droplets represent tears, rain and sadness, and the flowers represent the total opposite – joy, happiness and life,” Oki Sato, founder of nendo, said. “I felt these two positive and negative emotions are like two sides of the coin, like light and shadow. I thought it made sense to show an animation switching from one emotion to the other, back and forth, so I could propose a new way of seeing the bright side of life. Good design is not about shapes, colours or forms but the story behind the object.”

Oki Sato, founder of Studio nendo COURTESY: Studio nendo

Oki Sato, founder of Studio nendo
COURTESY: Studio nendo

Programmed to move up and down at half-hourly intervals, the electronically controlled choreography was reminiscent of a ballet. “It’s almost like a marionette with three wires,” Sato said about how each of the elements works. “When you pull the wire in the middle, it becomes a teardrop. When you pull the two on the side, it becomes a flower. And when you pull all three, you move the entire object up and down. It’s very technical but I wanted it to look natural and emotional.”

Studio nendo, ‘Ame Nochi Hana’, 2020 at Bon Marché Rive Gauche COURTESY: Studio nendo

Studio nendo, ‘Ame Nochi Hana’, 2020 at Bon Marché Rive Gauche
COURTESY: Studio nendo

On the second floor was the multimedia installation, ‘Uncovered Skies’: visitors walked upon an illuminated platform holding a black umbrella and saw projected landscape images appearing in its shadow. Part of nendo’s ‘Rain Bottle’ project (2014), inspired by the innumerable words for rain in the Japanese vocabulary, was on view on the ground floor.


François Azambourg x Ciav/Meisenthal

Curated by The Art Design Lab at Christie’s
24th February – 4th March 2020

François Azambourg, ‘Brindilles’ vases, ???? PHOTOGRAPH: © Guy Rebmeister

François Azambourg, ‘Brindilles’ vases, 2019
PHOTOGRAPH: © Guy Rebmeister

As Christie’s has a gap in its auction calendar in February, it sometimes invites a designer to exhibit in its venerable venue on Avenue Matignon. After Mathieu Lehanneur in 2018, it has tapped The Art Design Lab – an online gallery that sells works relating to the creative processes of 36 designers – to stage an exhibition by François Azambourg. 

The French designer’s glass blown vases are the culmination of a partnership with CIAV, the International Centre of Glass Art, in Meisenthal, eastern France. The distinguishing feature of the vases is that their moulded forms evoke the imprints of ferns and thorns. 

François Azambourg, ‘Brindilles’ vase, 2019 (detail)
PHOTOGRAPH: © Guy Rebmeister

“Azambourg has been pursuing experimental approaches to working with glassblowing”

François Azambourg, ‘Brindilles’ vase, 2019 (detail)
PHOTOGRAPH: © Guy Rebmeister

“His ‘Brindilles’ vase captures the contours of twigs, leaves and thorns of fir trees”

Azambourg, 56, has been collaborating with CIAV for the last 13 years, pursuing experimental approaches to working with glassblowing. His ‘Douglas’ vase, for instance, was made by burning a wooden mould so that the glass would be imprinted with the sinuous patterns, knots and crevices from the veins in the wood. Similarly, the ‘Brindilles’ vase captures the contours of twigs, leaves and needles of fir trees. 

On show alongside these are drawings, sketches and other preparatory works. Prices range from €100 for small drawings to €6,000 for the unique vases. The pieces are all sold by The Art Design Lab – a platform founded in 2017 by Karine Scherrer that primarily offers works on paper from the archives of Matali Crasset, David/Nicolas and Paola Sakr, among others. Christie’s takes no commission on the sales, according to a spokesperson.


Virgil Abloh: Efflorescence

Galerie kreo
15th January – 10th April 2020

Installation view ‘Efflorescence’ COURTESY: Galerie kreo / PHOTOGRAPH: © Morgane Le Gall

Installation view ‘Efflorescence’
COURTESY: Galerie kreo / PHOTOGRAPH: © Morgane Le Gall

Skateboard ramps, underpasses, graffiti, Brutalism and the rawness of construction sites are what come to mind when visiting Virgil Abloh’s first exhibition at Galerie kreo. The furniture collection sees the prolific Abloh, who is artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, founder of streetwear label Off-White and former creative director of Kanye West, adding yet another string to his already plentifully endowed bow.

It follows on from the American designer’s exhibition last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and his installation in the Zaha Hadid-designed fire station at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, during Art Basel.

Significantly, Abloh, 39, attained an MA in Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and his approach to design is informed by the urban landscape and construction. Prior to this collection for Kreo, he designed seating made from meshed metal, ‘Framing Grey Area Furnitures’, in 2018.

‘Efflorescence’ comprises 20 pieces designed last year that include “round and coffee tables, consoles, seats, vases, and mirrors”. Yet that hardly conveys Abloh’s tongue-in-cheek, subversive audacity by elevating the vernacular of ramps and graffiti into a Left Bank gallery.

Installation view ‘Efflorescence’ COURTESY: Galerie kreo / PHOTOGRAPH: © Morgane Le Gall

Installation view ‘Efflorescence’
COURTESY: Galerie kreo / PHOTOGRAPH: © Morgane Le Gall

Take the undulating bench with two lines of holes drilled into it and ‘UFO’ spray-painted in blue onto fuchsia pink next to orange, abstract shapes. Or the low, ribbed concrete piece sporting the word ‘Acid’ on its side. Equally humorous are the irregularly shaped ‘2020’ plant pots with leaves jutting out from the oversized holes.

For kreo’s owners, Didier and Clémence Krzentowski, ‘Efflorescence’ marks an effervescent start to 2020 and contrasts to the relative slickness of its usual shows.

Studio nendo – a design studio, founded by Oki Sato, that designs simple and clever furniture, installations, interiors, household products, and art objects.

Ame Nochi Hana – at Bon Marché until 16th February

François Azambourg – contemporary designer.

Christie’s – offers premier auctions and private sales of the finest art, antiques & interiors, jewellery & watches, wine and more.

Galerie kreo – focuses on producing new pieces in collaboration with the world’s most relevant contemporary designers.

 

Article By

Anna Sansom
Anna Sansom is a Paris-based journalist who writes about art, design and architecture for The Art Newspaper, Frame, Damn and Sotheby's Magazine, among other publications.