Le Théorème de Narcisse
September 2021 - January 2022, Petit Palais, ParisDiscover the exhibition
Le Théorème de Narcisse
Jean-Michel Othoniel is taking over the entire Petit Palais and its garden.
This is the artist's largest solo exhibition in Paris since his "My Way" retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2011.
For the occasion, in more than 70 new works, Othoniel invents The Theorem of Narcissus: a man-flower, who by reflecting himself, reflects the world around him. According to Gaston Bachelard, "narcissism is not always neurotic, it also plays a positive role in aesthetic work. Sublimation is not always the negation of a desire. It can be a sublimation for an ideal.
The artist weaves a web of unreality, enchantment, illusion, liberation of the imagination. Rivers of blue bricks, Lotus and golden necklaces, Crown of the Night, Wild Knots and Precious Stonewalls, these works are set in the building, hanging from the trees or placed on the water; they dialogue with the architecture of the Petit Palais and the gold of its garden. The exhibition is placed under the sign of re-enchantment and the theory of reflections that the artist has been developing for nearly ten years with the complicity of the Mexican mathematician Aubin Arroyo. This invitation to dream allows us, during the exhibition, to resist the disillusionment of the world. This exhibition is a message of openness offered free of charge to the public.
June - August 2021, Perrotin New YorkDiscover the exhibition
Opening this Summer at Perrotin New York, Jean-Michel Othoniel will present an exhibition of new sculptures and paintings, titled Wild Rosebuds. Following the debut of his spectacular Rose paintings, which entered the permanent collection of the Louvre in 2020, the artist will pair for the first time works from his Rose and Kiku series. In Wild Rosebuds, the artist continues his exploration of nature through a contemplative and minimal approach, showcasing his romantic vision of the world where simple pleasures, such as flowers, are full of hidden meaning.
Entering the exhibition, the first artwork you will encounter is an abstract sculpture in the shape of a Borromean knot, which appears to be an infinite string of mirrored beads. This sculpture is inspired by a rosebud, which is a symbol of passion that is continually reborn. In the main room, a series of 10 paintings, made with black or red ink on gold leaf, evoke the energy and tension of a single blooming rosebud.
In the center of the exhibition, the artist has staged 7 sculptures in mirrored, colorful glass that are inspired by the chrysanthemum flower. The chrysanthemum, or Kiku, is a symbol of joy, pleasure, and eternity. These sculptures are part of the artist’s infinite knots’ series, realized first nearly a decade ago in collaboration with Mexican mathematician Aubin Arroyo. Each glass construction is based on a mathematical theory used to calculate the infinities of reflectionscontained within one sphere of mirrors: “the wild knot theory.”
Finally, the exhibition culminates around a large-scale black ink Kiku painting on white golf leaf. The reflective surface of the paintings dialogue with the mirrored branches of the Kiku, infinitely refracting light into all corners of the room.
A major retrospective of this body of works will also be presented at The Petit Palais museum in Paris in September 2021.
March - May 2021, Arsenal art contemporain MontréalDiscover the exhibition
The "Wild Knots" exhibition brings together, for the first time, the series of knot-sculptures by Jean-Michel Othoniel, whose mirrored glass beads dialogue with the mathematical theory of wild knots. This exhibition, born from the meeting between the French artist and the Mexican mathematician Aubin Arroyo, is an opportunity to explore the intersection between contemporary art and the world of mathematics.
Previously presented at the Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires, the exhibition showcases the artist's mirrored glass works, including the largest knot made to date in this material, The Pansy Knot, part of the permanent collection of the Arsenal.
This story with mathematics was born in April 2015, when Aubin Arroyo told Jean-Michel Othoniel about his researches on wild knots and the theory of reflections, which he has been calculating and analyzing for over 15 years. The astonishing resemblance between the virtual images born from these mathematical formulas and the images of the artist's sculptures led them to an intellectual as well as a creative encounter.
In Montreal, Othoniel continues this mathematical exploration and presents a major retrospective of 25 knot-sculptures made between 2009 and 2019.
Inhabiting the creation of Jean-Michel Othoniel since 2008, the Borromean knots draw, with their serpentine lines, a movement suspended in space. Bringing together the poetry of geometry and the abstraction of form, these interlacings of blown glass beads - the artist's favorite material since 1993 - trace a dynamic and tumultuous construction, in a calligraphic gesture that recalls the taste of the artist for writing and signs. Circumvolutions, interweaving of curves where one could curl up, knots, self-supporting or suspended, constitute a real challenge launched to gravity.