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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

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Text by Lise Coirier
Photography by Lise Coirier

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.

Lucie Picandet, "Qui me soit chair", in leather marquetry depicts a woman caught in the jaws of a crocodile, forming an ouroboros (a circular design with no end). Picandet was mentored by Jean-Michel Alberola, worked at the Hermès leather workshops in Pantin, on Paris's northern rim, from January to March 2015. Complementing this unique leather piece, Picandet has produced a fantastic series of watercolours 'Nexus I, II, III, IV, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'
Lucie Picandet, "Qui me soit chair", in leather marquetry depicts a woman caught in the jaws of a crocodile, forming an ouroboros (a circular design with no end). Picandet was mentored by Jean-Michel Alberola, worked at the Hermès leather workshops in Pantin, on Paris's northern rim, from January to March 2015. Complementing this unique leather piece, Picandet has produced a fantastic series of watercolours 'Nexus I, II, III, IV, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'
(Detail) Lucie Picandet, "Qui me soit chair", in leather marquetry depicts a woman caught in the jaws of a crocodile, forming an ouroboros (a circular design with no end). Picandet was mentored by Jean-Michel Alberola, worked at the Hermès leather workshops in Pantin, on Paris's northern rim, from January to March 2015. Complementing this unique leather piece, Picandet has produced a fantastic series of watercolours, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'
(Detail) Lucie Picandet, "Qui me soit chair", in leather marquetry depicts a woman caught in the jaws of a crocodile, forming an ouroboros (a circular design with no end). Picandet was mentored by Jean-Michel Alberola, worked at the Hermès leather workshops in Pantin, on Paris's northern rim, from January to March 2015. Complementing this unique leather piece, Picandet has produced a fantastic series of watercolours, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'
(Detail) Lucie Picandet, "Qui me soit chair", in leather marquetry depicts a woman caught in the jaws of a crocodile, forming an ouroboros (a circular design with no end). Picandet was mentored by Jean-Michel Alberola, worked at the Hermès leather workshops in Pantin, on Paris's northern rim, from January to March 2015. Complementing this unique leather piece, Picandet has produced a fantastic series of watercolours, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'
(Detail) Lucie Picandet, "Qui me soit chair", in leather marquetry depicts a woman caught in the jaws of a crocodile, forming an ouroboros (a circular design with no end). Picandet was mentored by Jean-Michel Alberola, worked at the Hermès leather workshops in Pantin, on Paris's northern rim, from January to March 2015. Complementing this unique leather piece, Picandet has produced a fantastic series of watercolours, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'
Lucia Bru, (Movidas), 2017, transparent and grey crystal blocks, various dimensions
Lucia Bru, (Movidas), 2017, transparent and grey crystal blocks, various dimensions
Lucia Bru, installation of transparent and grey crystal blocks, done at Cristalleries Saint-Louis / Hermès group as part of her artist's residency
Lucia Bru, installation of transparent and grey crystal blocks, done at Cristalleries Saint-Louis / Hermès group as part of her artist's residency
Close up of Lucia Bru's installation
Close up of Lucia Bru's installation
Lucia Bru, (Pleins), 2017, graphite pencil, ball point pen, black ink, polyester, 110 x 180 cm. Courtesy of Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp
Lucia Bru, (Pleins), 2017, graphite pencil, ball point pen, black ink, polyester, 110 x 180 cm. Courtesy of Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp
Lucie Picandet's series of watercolours on paper, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands' is interacting with the impressive textile installation by Célia Godol who was mentored by Ann-Veronica Janssens at the Holding Textile Hermès in Pierre-Bénite near Lyon. Gondol has combined optical research with astrophysical observations within a unique 40 meters long art piece inspired by the 150 m long horizontal printing machine that is so-called 'à la Lyonnaise' (silk screen technique à la Lyonnaise in French, in which each frame corresponds to a single colour in the finished design)
Lucie Picandet's series of watercolours on paper, especially created for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands' is interacting with the impressive textile installation by Célia Godol who was mentored by Ann-Veronica Janssens at the Holding Textile Hermès in Pierre-Bénite near Lyon. Gondol has combined optical research with astrophysical observations within a unique 40 meters long art piece inspired by the 150 m long horizontal printing machine that is so-called 'à la Lyonnaise' (silk screen technique à la Lyonnaise in French, in which each frame corresponds to a single colour in the finished design)
One of the four watercolours 'Nexus IV', created by Lucie Picandet for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'. Courtesy Galerie G. P. & N. Vallois, Paris
One of the four watercolours 'Nexus IV', created by Lucie Picandet for this exhibition 'The Sleepless Hands'. Courtesy Galerie G. P. & N. Vallois, Paris
Bianca Argimon, Piggy Bank, 2015, ceramics
Bianca Argimon, Piggy Bank, 2015, ceramics
Bianca Argimon, Piggy Bank (frontal view), 2015, ceramics
Bianca Argimon, Piggy Bank (frontal view), 2015, ceramics
Bianca Argimon revisits the baby foot with Materazzi, 2017, wood, enamalled ceramics and metal
Bianca Argimon revisits the baby foot with Materazzi, 2017, wood, enamalled ceramics and metal
DH McNabb, The Heart(h) of Saint-Louis, 2016, crystal, LED lights
DH McNabb, The Heart(h) of Saint-Louis, 2016, crystal, LED lights
DH McNabb, monitored by the American artist Richard Fishman, was invited in residency from October 2015 until March 2016 at the Cristalleries Saint-Louis / Hermès Group. He explored the hot and cold parts of the glass foundry to create works nourished by scientific, philosophical and literary references
DH McNabb, monitored by the American artist Richard Fishman, was invited in residency from October 2015 until March 2016 at the Cristalleries Saint-Louis / Hermès Group. He explored the hot and cold parts of the glass foundry to create works nourished by scientific, philosophical and literary references
DH McNabb, detail of the Bubble Rings - Air Trap, crystal and metal structure
DH McNabb, detail of the Bubble Rings - Air Trap, crystal and metal structure
DH McNabb, detail of the Bubble Rings - Air Trap, crystal and metal structure
DH McNabb, detail of the Bubble Rings - Air Trap, crystal and metal structure
DH McNabb, Horizons Studies #4 and #5, 2016, blown and fused glass. Courtesy S12 Gallery and Workshop, Bergen, Norway
DH McNabb, Horizons Studies #4 and #5, 2016, blown and fused glass. Courtesy S12 Gallery and Workshop, Bergen, Norway
DH McNabb, Horizons Studies #4, 2016, blown and fused glass. Courtesy S12 Gallery and Workshop, Bergen, Norway
DH McNabb, Horizons Studies #4, 2016, blown and fused glass. Courtesy S12 Gallery and Workshop, Bergen, Norway
DH McNabb, Horizons Studies #5, 2016, blown and fused glass. Courtesy S12 Gallery and Workshop, Bergen, Norway
DH McNabb, Horizons Studies #5, 2016, blown and fused glass. Courtesy S12 Gallery and Workshop, Bergen, Norway
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