Les Mains Sans Sommeil at Palais de Tokyo
Les Mains Sans Sommeil: Bianca Argimon, Jennifer Avery, Clarissa Baumann, Lucia Bru, Io Burgard, Anastasia Douka, Célia Gondol, McNabb, Lucie Picandet
This is your last chance to discover the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès‘s retrospective of these past four years artists’ residencies. Under the poetic title Les Mains Sans Sommeil, French curator Gaël Charbeau opened the doors to nine talented artists who dared to explore Hermès craftsmanship without boundaries.
Guided by three renowned artists and mentors, Ann Veronica Janssens, Jean-Michel Alberola and Richard Fishman, Bianca Argimon, Jennifer Avery, Clarissa Baumann, Lucia Bru, Io Burgard, Anastasia Douka, Célia Gondol, DH McNabb and Lucie Picandet took part in those residencies over the past four years (2014-2017). From this unique creative adventure a minimum of two works have emerged from their interaction with the Hermès workshops –for example, fine metal work at Puiforcat, glass blowing and fusing at Cristalleries Saint-Louis, textile weaving and silk screen technique at the Holding Textile Hermès in Pierre-Bénite near Lyon. One piece or collection remains the property of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès for displaying it worldwide, while the other piece can be freely presented in the context of a gallery or an exhibition and comes back to the artist.
Already in 2013, Charbeau presented at Palais de Tokyo a first round of residencies, put together as Condensation and under the patronage of Richard Deacon, Susanna Fritscher, Giuseppe Penone and Emmanuel Saulnier. It featured Marcos Avila Forero, Oliver Beer, Simon Boudvin, Gabriele Chiari, Elisabeth S. Clark, Marine Class, Marie-Anne Franqueville, Sébastien Gschwind, Atsunobu Kohira, Oh You Kyeong, Benoît Piéron, Félix Pinquier, Émilie Pitoiset, Andrès Ramirez, Olivier Sévère and Anne-Charlotte Yver. This exhibition went, after Paris, to Tokyo and Seoul.
Charbeau states: “The artists I’ve visited, in the worlds of fine metal-work, leather-work, crystal and textiles, have all shown an immediate interest in this very special expertise: a sensory knowledge first and foremost, and an intellectual or spiritual knowledge second. This is what I wanted to show in Condensation, the previous exhibition retracing the first four years of the Residencies programme: the aim was to highlight the quasi alchemical fascination exerted by the slow transformation of the raw material, an experience shared by the participating artists and artisans. With Les Mains sans sommeil, my aim has been to focus attention on the movements and gestures I have observed, which enable the metamorphosis of the raw material to take place – not only conscious gestures, the result of deliberate ‘mind-to-hand or mind-to-body’ coordination, but the acquired autonomy of the skilled hand in particular, which acts as if ‘detached’ from the mind’s control. Artists and artisans are the repositories of this phenomenon. They take parallel, perfectly complementary approaches: artisans transmit gestures guided by expertise, while artists invent forms traversed by a spirit of laisser-faire.”
We are typically in this contemporary context in which art, applied arts and design are evolving together. Creative disciplines are no longer catalogued but mixed to each other in an ever-ending dialogue. Experimentation comes first and reveals the fusion of the concept, the gesture and the beauty of an art piece or installation infused by high-end craftsmanship. Thanks to the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès for supporting this true revival of contemporary applied arts in connection with the fine arts.
Les Mains Sans Sommeil (Sleepless Hands) is on display until January 7 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
To read: The Cahiers de Résidence, notebooks attached with a wide band size, paperbacks with bilingual French/English flaps, published by Actes Sud and the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.