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Sleepless Hands at the Palais de Tokyo

Dec 4, 2017

The recipients of the Hermès Residencies programme in the last three years are showcasing their work in ‘Les mains sans sommeil,’ an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo

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Text by Rab Messina
Photography by Tadzio

The objects that emerge from Hermès workshops are known for their exquisite craftsmanship and the fine materials they’re made of. Since 2010, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès has invited visual artists to join them in an annual Residencies programme, allowing them to produce new works in collaboration with the workshop artisans. The recipients from the last three years are now showcasing those pieces in Les mains sans sommeil, an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo.

Under the eye of curator Gaël Charbau, the pieces produced by the nine participating artists are joined by other works in their portfolio. “Alongside the works produced in the factories, the exhibition provides the possibility to discover other pieces from the artists’ corpuses, so as to show the context in which they are set, and to explore ‘the workshop gestures’ that produced such works: repetitions, the forcing of chance, inscriptions and ‘activations’ of the artist’s body,” Charbau explains. Those workshop gestures, a near-choreographic non-verbal language that artisans employ in their practice, inspired the name of the exhibition.

Those gestures extended to the guest artists. Clarissa Baumann, for example, stretched a spoon in order to turn it into a long silver wire. Célia Gondol deployed abstract figures across forty metres of silk, Bianca Argimon deconstructed the shapes and colours of a pattern and DH McNabb inserted a kinetic motif inside a block of crystal. Lucia Bru poured cement into crystal, while Anastasia Douka questions the perception of machines as creatures and Lucie Picandet uses leather to depict the regeneration of the soul. In a very Hermès fashion, Jennifer Vinegar Avery assembled textile off-cuts into a bestiary, while Io Burgard playfully created tools for uses that still need to be invented.

For those visiting the Palais de Tokyo, do take note: the artists are also involved in side performances throughout December and January. For example, Clarissa Baumann will be hosting a spoon-inspired sound activation, while Jennifer Vinegar Avery will be present daily to activate her little animals.

For a complete list of performances, visit the Palais de Tokyo website. The exhibition is open until January 7.

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DH McNabb Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Anastasia Douka, Le Collant _The thing you can’t get rid of, 2017 Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Clarissa Baumann, Spoon - Book, 2016 Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Lucia Bru (Movidas), 2017 (foreground), Clarissa Baumann (background) Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Jennifer Vinegar Avery, Pupa, Waste bins and the Beasts, 2014. Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Bianca Argimon, West of Eden, 2017 Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Lucie Picandet, Qui me soit chair, 2014 Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Io Burgard, Let the boat rock, 2016 Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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Célia Gondol, Observables d’Apeiron, 2016 (background: Io Burgard, Let the boat rock, 2016) Exhibition view: Les Mains sans sommeil (‘The Sleepless Hands’), the Artists’ Residencies of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, 2017. Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
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