Jean-Michel Othoniel’s latest work “Oracles”, a set of sculptures made out of coloured glass and metal bricks at Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
“A space where free speech would be protected by the status of the artwork"
Review by Zoltan Alexander
"Oracles" by Jean-Michel Othoniel at Galerie Perrotin / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA
If you are looking for the fast trip to Korea via the Japanese archipelago or to Agora and back in one day, the Galerie Perrotin offers a magic journey through his artists highlighting the works of Jean-Michel Othoniel, Otani Workshop and Kim Chong-Hak.
The journey begins with 82-year-old Korean artist Kim Chong-Hak on the ground floor, continues upstairs with Japanese artist Otani Workshop presenting “Tales of Awaji “ his ceramics made of Shigaraki clay, and the floor below with Jean-Michel Othoniel’s latest work “Oracles”, a set of sculptures made out of coloured glass and metal bricks.
“The brick served them as stone and the bitumen served them as mortar. And they said, go, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach heaven.” From Genesis to Herodotus, the Father of History, between history and myth, the Tower of Babel and its destruction have fired the imagination.
What remained of the symbolic link between heaven and earth? What happened to the bricks used to erect it? The questions are raised and they underlie Othoniel’s “Oracles” presented for the first time at Galerie Perrotin.
Othoniel brought 15 minimalistic, enigmatic sculptures together made of glass and metal bricks. He has systematized the use of a module after a journey to India in 2009. On the road from Delhi to Firozabad, a city with an age-old glassmaking tradition, he was struck by stacks of bricks accumulated in the hope of building a house and by countless altars covered in offerings and multicoloured necklaces. He was then called on the knowledge of Indian glassblowers to create bricks in blue, amber, yellow and grey colours and the glass bricks have eventually led Othoniel towards more refined and radical works between sculpture and architecture.
For the exhibition, Othoniel has chosen to concentrate exclusively on glass and stainless steel through abstract, monochrome propositions and in brick, he has found a universal element, a common denominator between cultures and one that has traversed the history of humanity. The bricks enabled him to reach the architectural scale, to go beyond the idea of sculpture, to invent a new relation to space, to rethink his relation to geometry and landscape. Consisting of mirror-like, futuristic stainless-steel bricks, “Agora” is the synthesis of the ideas brought by the exhibition expressing the artist’s desire to move increasingly towards architecture.
“For a long time, I have wanted to build Agora, a space where free speech would be protected by the status of the artwork.” Jean-Michel Othoniel
Between sculpture and architecture, the monumental and the intimate, “Agora” emanates a poetic and sensual power.
Installation of "Oracles" by Jean-Michel Othoniel at Galerie Perrotin
/ Photo © Courtesy of Claire Dorn Galerie Perrotin
JEAN-MICHEL OTHONIEL "Oracles"
/ published in ARTLYST © 2019
JEAN-MICHEL OTHONIEL "Oracles"
Galerie Perrotin 76 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, France
/ 16 March 2019 - 8 June 2019 / Tickets: free