emmanuel boos: Comme un Lego
Jousse Entreprise presents, “Comme un Lego”, a solo show by French ceramic artist emmanuel boos, through November 10, 2023.
“Comme un Lego”, at Jousse Entreprise in Paris, is a playful yet rigorous exhibition by emmanuel boos that uses hand built ceramic cubes and bricks to create a series of installations, furniture and objects. Boos, who lives between Paris and Manheim, Germany, had a long artistic residency at the Sevres Manufacture between 2016-2019, where he experimented with porcelain cubes about the size of children’s blocs that can be stacked and arranged in different ways thanks to the support of a small copper grid. As each cube is slightly different than the rest, there is a sense of precariousness to the installations of cubes, yet also a harmonious rhythm of size, shape, as well as in their accumulations. From the cube, he turned his attention to the humble brick, an essential tool of architecture of course, but also a source for the exhibition’s title, Lego, and the infinite construction possibilities that lie within.
Quartett is a stack of small glazed cubes that appear as if slightly squashed in order to make the stacking stand. It sits on the table, in all its misshapen beauty, almost soft and bulbous in parts. Like much of his work, there is a poetic gesture engaged in each work, an ode to the handmade and all its perfect imperfections. Through repetition, accumulation and inventiveness, boos plays with the plasticity of porcelain and builds unexpected creations.
In addition to shape and form, glaze is subject to which boos has dedicated much of his attention throughout his career. He writes. “The surprises of glaze are a challenge to scientific understanding and to the practice of the craftsman but to me they are first of all an aesthetic shock: those surprises have the ability to touch and move me. My practice of glaze does not aim mastery nor domination. I do not have those ambitions nor do I wish to turn into a jealous potter as described by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I wish to slip into the glaze and develop a friendly relationship with chaos and eventually trust chance.” In “Comme un Lego”, glazes are luminous and milky, at times matt or glossy. Creams, beiges, celadon as well a deep burgundy and black, are modern and elegant.
Boos admits to giving up the allusion of ever dominating his medium and therefore relinquishes his control in favour of having a playful, and certainly healthier relationship to ceramics. The artist has studied ceramics and glazing extensively, from receiving a practice-led PhD from the Royal College of Art in London to apprenticeships in France and residencies in South Korea and China, among other experiences. But boos has pushed past the training and academics to reach a new approach to working with ceramics that merges art, craft, conceptualism and design in a fun and fascinating way.
“Comme un Lego”, October 12-November 10, 2023, Jousse Entreprise, Paris.