EXHIBITION: OTHONIEL VERSAILLES@836M
DATES: 09/26/2015 - 03/04/2016
CURRENTLY BASED: PARIS, FRANCE
ARTIST WEBSITE: OTHONIEL.FR/EN
With a marked taste for metamorphosis, sublimation, and transmutation, Jean-Michel Othoniel (born on January 27, 1964, in Saint-Étienne and working in Paris) shows a fondness for materials with reversible properties. At the beginning of the 1990s, he started with works made out of wax or sulfur, showing them at the Kassel documentary in 1992.
A turning point in his output came the following year when he began employing glass. Working with the finest glassmakers in Murano, he explored the material’s properties that subsequently became a hallmark of his work.
From 1996, he put this plan into action: placing his works in the landscape, hanging giant necklaces in the gardens of the Villa Medici, Rome, and from trees in the gardens of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice (1997), as well as in the Alhambra and the Generalife in Granada (1999). In 2000, he carried out a public order for the first time to transform the Paris subway station of Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre into Le Kiosque des Noctambules, a double crown of glass and aluminum concealing a bench conducive to brief encounters in the sleeping city.
Each of his many exhibitions has offered an opportunity to experiment with the multifaceted potential of glass: in 2003, at the show “Crystal Palace” at the Foundation Cartier in Paris and the MoCA in Miami, he had made blown-glass forms that soon morphed into enigmatic sculptures somewhere between jewelry, architecture, and erotic object. The following year, in 2004, under the umbrella of the exhibition “Contrepoint,” an invitation from the Musée du Louvre to exhibit in the spectacular Mesopotamian rooms, an occasion for the artist to show his first freestanding necklaces.
“[La Rose des Vents sculpture is] France’s best gift to the States since the Statue of Liberty”— 7X7 MAGAZINE
OTHONIEL IN VERSAILLES:
Jean-Michel Othoniel’s series of three fountain sculptures, Les Belles Danses (The Beautiful Dances), is the first permanent artwork to be showcased in the gardens of Versailles in over 300 years.
The sculptures were produced using blown glass and gold leaf. The final installation consisted of 1,750 blown glass beads precisely designed in Murano and Basel to follow the curve of their metallic infrastructure. The result is a sculpture that hovers above and integrates with the fountain below, evoking King Louis XIV dancing on water.
Jean-Michel Othoniel's Elegant World
January 20, 2021