December 2017, Universum, Museo de las Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de MexicoDiscover the exhibition
In April 2015, the young and talented Mexican mathematician Aubin Arroyo shared with me his researches on wild knots and reflections theory, which he had been calculating and analyzing for more than fifteen years. The virtual images born of these mathematical formulae bore an uncanny resemblance to the images of my sculptures. Arroyo first discovered my work thanks to the internet. Following this virtual encounter, he came to Paris in November of 2015 to visit my studio, and we spent a great deal discussing this surprising coincidence. What were the probabilities that our seemingly distinct worlds would come together? That a connection would be made between mathematics and contemporary art, between two countries so far apart, Mexico and France, between the rational and the intuitive?
In 2017, the Mathematics Insititute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico asked
Aubin Arroyo to be in charge of designing the mathematical content and selecting the objects for the permanent exhibition of « La sala de Matemáticas » in the Science Museum of the University.
In this hall to be inaugurated in December 2017, some of his researches will be shown for the first time to the public. To accompany Arroyo’s mathematical theories in the Museum, the
University acquired one of my sculptures in mirrored glass, The Infinite Knot, for its collections.
On this occasion, we published the book Nudos Salvajes with a text by Aubin Arroyo and Juan Manuel Ruisánchez Serra offering an insight into the «Nudos Salvajes» (wild knots). In so doing, we also discovered the astonishing parallels between the mathematician’s images and my own.
Completing our exchange and reinforcing the connections between Mathematics and Art,
Aubin Arroyo and Fabiola Manjarrez also developed a mathematical interpretation of my
sculptures shaped like Borromean rings.
June - September 2017, CRAC de Sète / Carré Sainte-Anne de MontpellierDiscover the exhibition
Until September 24, two simultaneous monographic exhibitions dedicated to Jean-Michel Othoniel will be presented at the Centre régional d’art contemporain Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée (Regional centre for contemporary art), in Sète, and the Carré Sainte-Anne, contemporary art space of the city of Montpellier.
Under the title “Géométries Amoureuses” (Geometries in Love), this double event shows several facets of the artist’s work through some sixty sculptures, a dozen paintings and over a hundred works on paper. The title brings together the dualities that characterize the work of Othoniel: sensuality and rigor, the hidden and revealed, wounds and beauty.
The Centre régional d’art contemporain in Sète – a former industrial storage facility rehabilitated as an art centre – and the Carré Saint-Anne, Montpellier’s contemporary art space, both open their spaces, inviting the artist's work to resonate with the venues' specific character and charm.
The CRAC in Sète presents an exhibition composed of monumental, previously unseen works. Inspired by the forms and shapes of nature, this exhibition treads a path close to a radical, monochrome and abstract architecture. These new works – made up of glass, mirror, metal, ink or obsidian – show the evolution in the artist’s work since his retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2011.
On the ground floor, the exhibition begins with a colossal 6-meter-high and 15-meter-long wave, consisting of more than ten thousand of black glass bricks. Specifically conceived for the location, this work echoes the first photograph taken in Sète in 1857 by Gustave Le Gray, titled The Great Wave. In the following rooms, the visitor will discover for the first time mysterious meteorites in obsidian – a black stone that originates in volcanic lava – as well as a series of unseen works, made on canvas and titled Black Lotus, surrounding sculptures of the same name. The last rooms of the exhibition bear witness to the violence of the elements, represented by a series of gigantic steel tornadoes suspended in space, and a flower, The Wild Pansy¸ a large knot of colored-glass beads – a tribute to the freedom of thought.
On the first floor, a hundred drawings, similar to a large travel diary made between 1996 and 2017, reveal the artist’s thought process and the genesis of many of his works.
This project creates an œuvre that establishes itself in close relation with Sète and the architecture of the art centre.
Curator: Noëlle Tissier
The Carré Sainte-Anne of the city of Montpellier presents some fifty works by Jean-Michel Othoniel, from his personal collection. For Othoniel, collecting one’s own works corresponds to a desire to escape from the world. By deciding to publicly display a part of himself, the artist shows the emotional ambivalence at the heart of his work. The works exhibited, dear to the artist, have been preserved by him since the 1990s, the time when he began to take interest in the use of glass. They are brought together in an installation specifically conceived for the Carré Sainte-Anne.
At the centre of the Carré Sainte-Anne, the artist chose to present Le Contrepet, the founding work of this passion, made in 1992. Organized around this fragment of body made of obsidian, the installation reflects the other key moments in Othoniel’s artistic journey.
From the Collier Cicatrice in red Murano glass, to the forbidden fruits of the Peggy Guggenheim garden in Venice, to the Bannières from his exhibition at the Fondation Cartier and the Géométrie amoureuse in the Mesopotamian room of the Louvre Museum, these historical works are suspended, floating above a floor of blue bricks made with Indian glassmakers from Firozabad.
This exhibition allows the public an insight into the intimacy the artist maintains with his creations. He reveals why he chose to treasure and hold onto these works for the past fifteen years.
Curator: The Friends of the Musée Fabre
Art director: Numa Hambursin
March - July 2017, Grand Palais - Galeries nationalesDiscover the exhibition
The exhibition "Jardins" (Gardens) is a modest attempt to echo the words of Foucault, not often quoted but no less important: «The garden is the smallest parcel of the world and then it is the totality of the world.»
The subject has been examined using its essential definition: an enclosure, a delimited area within a territory, an orchestrated area that is a window to the world.
Presented at the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, this multidisciplinary assembly of painting, sculptures, photographs, drawings, films and more is neither a comprehensive history of garden art, nor a catalogue with any aspirations to being exhaustive. Related notions such as that of nature, are kept away from an exhibition whose focus remains solely on its subject, which also wants to demonstrate, in the manner of a giant collage, how the garden is a complete work of art, that stimulates all of the senses, asking the central question of representation.
For this exhibition, Jean-Michel Othoniel presents a new work: La Grotta Azzurra,
A mysterious cave made of cobalt blue glass bricks in the center of which a fountain rises, returning to the reflective walls of this installation its crystalline sparkles.
Conceived as a "garden walk", the exhibition brings together many artists: Dürer, David, Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, Othoniel, Johan Creten or Wolfang Laib.
Le Cortège endormi
February - March 2017, Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption - ValloireDiscover the exhibition
Le Cortège endormi
Exhibition from February 1 to March 27, 2017
Valloire is a ski resort located in Savoie, 1,430 meters above sea level, which houses Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, a 17th century Baroque church, classified as a historical monument. The legend states that every parishioner on his way to Mass brought along materials for the church's construction.
For Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption in Valloire, Jean-Michel Othoniel selected some of his most important works, creating a magical glass procession of relics, banners and offerings within the church's baroque setting. His glass art objects, evoking the sacred and the extraordinary, interact with the architecture and give free rein to the visitors' imagination.
This exhibition was carried out with the support of the commune of Valloire and the parish of Sainte Thècle le Galibier.
"Jean-Michel Othoniel’s work has always related to spirituality and sacred artefacts. From his early artistic experimentation up until his more recent work, the artist has regularly appealed to religious, popular or scholarly references. The Veil of Veronica, the reliquaries, the ex-votos, and votive finery have all served as inspiration for works evocative of the real, the body and their relationship in often enigmatic coded forms. Like religious artefacts, the most extreme emotions from birth until death are glorified and spiritualised within them."
Catherine Grenier, épiphanies, Actes Sud, 2014.