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 ten paintings, made with black or red ink on gold leaf, evoke the energy and tension of a single blooming rosebud.
In the centre of the exhibition, the artist has staged seven sculptures in mirrored, colourful 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 reflections contained 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.
Wild Rosebuds is a continuation of Jean-Michel Othoniel's decades-long fascination with flowers as a conceptual and aesthetic framework for his fine art practice. In his early work, Othoniel buried anemones in sulphur, cut and dissected pomegranates, and pinned flower petals to the walls. In 1996, Othoniel produced a series of larger-than-life lady-slipper orchids in Murano glass and hung them from the trees dotting the Peggy Guggenheim estate in Venice, Italy, and later, hid his immense necklaces inside the cavernous oaks in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 2015, the artist published a book titled 'the secret language of flowers,' in collaboration with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which was republished in dialogue with the Louvre collections in 2020. In a 2015 interview, he stated 'Flowers are our primary images.' He went on to reveal that 'since adolescence, I amassed a stock of notes on this history of plants' as well as an exhaustive photographic archive of both flowers and trees. With their infinite symbolic associations, flowers allow Othoniel to explore his concerns with ephemerality and permanence, life and death, figure and ground, as well as form and colour. For the artist, flowers have evolved into a 'way of looking at the world.'
Jean-Michel Othoniel was born in 1964 in Saint-Etienne, France and now lives and works in Paris, France. He graduated from the National School of Arts, Cergy- Pontoise, France in 1988 and completed a residency at the Villa Medici, Rome, Italy in 1996. In late 2018, Othoniel was elected to the Academy of Fine Arts in the sculpture section. Starting in January 2019, when the acceptance ceremony took place, he began helping the Academy fulfill its mission to defend, promote and support artistic creation. Notable public installations include his Belles Danses (Beautiful Dances) fountains at the Palace of Versailles, France; the Treasury at Angoulême Cathedral, Angoulême, France; and a fountain installation at The National Museum of Qatar, Doha, Qatar. Othoniel's work has been included in major exhibitions internationally at Le Louvre, Paris, France; Château La Coste, Puy-Sainte Réparade, France; Centre Culturel Néstor Kirchner, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Saint-Etienne, France; Macau Museum of Art, China; the Fondation Cartier, Paris, France; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, USA; Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; Musée National Eugène Delacroix, Paris, France; The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
Press release courtesy Perrotin.