Transcendant Craftsmanship: Sculpture Meets Design

 Paris  |  30 March 2017  |  AMA  |  Tweet  |  LinkedIn

Galerie Philippe Gravier is participating for the first time in Art Paris Art Fair, presenting new works by Japanese artist-architect Sou Fujimoto, Forest of Books (2016), and by French light sculptor Patrick Rimoux, Forest of Light (2016). This complimentary display creates a synthesis of fine art, design, and engineering.

Developed through Gravier’s concept “Elements of Architecture,” Forest of Books is a group of five libraries (bookcases), each in an edition of five. This work blends functional elements of design with cerebral concepts and aesthetics of fine art. Each library is composed of a systematic structure of identical iron bars spaced uniformly around a stainless steel ring. The craftsmanship was undertaken by experienced artisanal metalworkers in France, requiring 7 months to build. The structures, although ample in size and substance, appear elegant and graceful. There is an openness to their appearance, a feeling bolstered by an inviting bench which coaxes the viewer to enter within one structure’s framework. The artist describes the structures as, “floating in space. Like an interpretation of the readings, they are wanderings, slightly drifting away.”

The gentle curves of the vertical bars recall the tradition of 19th-century ironwork, perhaps even an echo of the Art Nouveau. The artist reinterprets the soft contours of antique balustrades evocative of nature, combining an old technique with new craftsmanship, bridging the gap in time. This dichotomy of old and new is also reflected in the artist’s choice of materials, traditional iron bars with shiny new stainless steel rings. As Fujimoto explains, “Libraries are, beyond time, an assembly of different eras, past and future. A combination of search-ability and stroll-ability. A trip, a non-linear journey, in search of a story, an information, a discovery.” Sou Fujimoto (b. 1971), graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1994, and established his own architecture firm in 2000. He is known for creating delicate structures and permeable enclosures. In 2013, he designed the temporary Serpentine Gallery pavillion in London. Fujimoto previously collaborated with Galerie Philippe Gravier on the artist’s first work installed in Paris, Many Small Cubes (2016). This work was displayed in the Tuileries gardens as part of the FIAC art fair.

The complex composition of Forest of Books is underscored by artworks on the exhibition space walls by light sculptor Patrick Rimoux. Patrick Rimoux (b. 1958) is a contemporary artist and engineer who uses new technologies to modulate light as an art form. A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure and student of the Beaux Arts in Paris, Rimoux’s works are primarily of an urban scale. He integrates light into the urban landscape, often using reflection to make his light sources appear more natural and organic. Among his many accomplishments is the light scenography surrounding the Centre Pompidou-Metz. At the fair, his video projections repeatedly deconstruct each library into its numerous pieces, creating an abstract display of seemingly nonsensical parts, then reassembles them smoothly and seamlessly into a cohesive whole.

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