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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See 6 Sep 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Jean-Michel Othoniel

b. 1964, France

French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel is known for his sculptures comprised of hand-blown glass parts. Made for both indoors and out, Othoniel explores history and universal human experiences in his large-scale artworks.

After graduating from the École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts de Paris-Cergy in Cergy-Pontoise, France, in 1988, Othoniel worked with wax and sulphur, exploring their reversible and symbolic properties. Motivated by his preoccupation with the human body and the trauma of the AIDS epidemic, these early sculptures attracted international attention at documenta IX (1992) in Kassel. A set of sulphur works and My Beautiful Closet (1994)—an installation-performance piece featuring dancers filmed in the dark—was included in the exhibition Féminin/Masculin (1994) at Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Since 1993, Othoniel has been incorporating glass (made by internationally renowned glass-blowers in Murano and Basel as well as Monterrey, Sapporo and Firozabad) into his work to address experiences of joy, suffering, loss and recovery. The glass bead necklace has been a recurring motif in Othoniel's work since first appearing in 1996 as giant suspended sculptures in the garden of the Villa Medici in Rome; its beads allude to the human body, bonding and the embracing of both joy and suffering. The following year, the necklace was reduced to a more intimate scale when Othoniel fashioned 1000 of them from blood-red glass beads in memory of the late artist Félix González-Torres, who had been Othoniel's mentor and friend, and had died of AIDS in 1996. Giving away the necklaces at that year's EuroPride festival, Othoniel made a photomontage of the process, titling it Scar-Necklace (1997).

Again using the motif for his public commission titled Le Kiosque des Noctambules (The Kiosk of the Nightwalkers) (2000), Othoniel placed two crown-shaped structures over the subway entrance to the Palais-Royal/Musée du Louvre station in Paris and surrounded it with a fence of aluminium rings, beset with coloured glass beads. The crowns, also made from glass globes, have two different colour schemes representing night and day. Patrons of the subway encounter the colours of the day when emerging from the ground, and the opposite when descending into the ground. Creating the work while he was recovering from heartbreak, Othoniel drew on the idea of the emergence from dark into light as an experience that, though different for everyone, is universal.

Often, Othoniel's other sculptures address more specific social and historical concerns. Bateau de Larmes (Boat of Tears) (2004), for instance, consists of an abandoned Cuban refugee boat from Miami over which the artist erected a canopy of glass globes. Crystal teardrops hang from the canopy, signifying the hardship and suffering faced by Cuban exiles. In his 2018 exhibition Dark Matters at Perrotin New York, Othoniel paid a tribute to the Stonewall riots of 1969 through his sculptural series 'Precious Stonewall' (2010–2017). The artworks are made of glass bricks from India, piled up to give an impression of glossy stone walls. Stacking the glass bricks in a fashion that recalls the way bricks are kept on roadsides in India, Othoniel increasingly experiments with incorporating architectural elements into his work.

Othoniel is also recognised for his rejuvenation of historical sites. Unveiled in 2015, Les Belles Danses (The Beautiful Dances) is a group of three sculptures that marked the reopening of the Water Theatre Grove at Versailles. The sculptures consist of a total of 1,750 glass bubbles set with gold-leaf. Their vibrant forms, seemingly floating or rising out of the fountain in the Grove, were inspired by the dance annotations that Raoul-Auger Feuillet (1653–1710) developed for King Louis XIV in 1701.

In 2016, Othoniel completed the eight-year renovation for the interior spaces of Le Trésor de la Cathédrale d'Angoulême—a 12th-century cathedral whose exteriors had been restored in the then-current neo-Romanesque style by the French architect Paul Abadie between 1852 and 1875. For his permanent addition to the cathedral, Othoniel employed his geometric motifs and his signature hand-blown glass globes from Murano in a colour scheme of mostly blue and gold, to reimagine the site as an absorbing spectacle.

Othoniel's work has recently been shown at Perrotin New York (2018); Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2016, 2010); Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2015); Karuizawa New Art Museum (2014); Perrotin Paris (2013); and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2006) among others. His participation in international exhibitions includes the Venice Biennale (2009, 1995); Istanbul Biennial (2007, 1992); and the Gwangju Biennale (2000). In 2011 he held a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, titled My Way, which travelled between 2011 and 2012 to Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Macao Museum of Art; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Othoniel lives and works in Paris.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Collier Cobalt et Alessandrita by Jean-Michel Othoniel contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel OthonielCollier Cobalt et Alessandrita, 2019 Murano glass, stainless steel
100 x 45 x 15 cm
Kukje Gallery
Oracle (Grey) / Oracle (Gris) by Jean-Michel Othoniel contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel OthonielOracle (Grey) / Oracle (Gris), 2019 Grey Indian glass bricks, stainless steel
13 x 146 cm
Perrotin
Oracle (Mirror) / Oracle (Miroir) by Jean-Michel Othoniel contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel OthonielOracle (Mirror) / Oracle (Miroir), 2018 Steel, Stainless steel
35 x 212 cm
Perrotin
Iceberg / Iceberg by Jean-Michel Othoniel contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel OthonielIceberg / Iceberg, 2019 59 polished, stainless steel bricks
97 x 89 cm
Perrotin
Collier Or Blanc by Jean-Michel Othoniel contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel OthonielCollier Or Blanc, 2017 Murano glass, platinum leafs, stainless steel
97 x 45 x 15 cm
Kukje Gallery
Noeud bleu miroir by Jean-Michel Othoniel contemporary artwork
Jean-Michel OthonielNoeud bleu miroir, 2014 Mirrored glass, steel
72 x 65 cm
Perrotin

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Oracles at Perrotin, Paris
Closed
16 March–8 June 2019 Jean-Michel Othoniel Oracles Perrotin, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Summer Gallery Highlights at Perrotin, Hong Kong
Closed
21 July–8 September 2018 Group Exhibition Summer Gallery Highlights Perrotin, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Dark Matters at Perrotin, New York
Closed
3 March–15 April 2018 Jean-Michel Othoniel Dark Matters Perrotin, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Top 5 booths at Art Busan 2016 Ocula Report Top 5 booths at Art Busan 2016 31 May 2016 : Angela Suh for Ocula

Located a stones throw from the famed Haeundae Beach, popularised in Korean cinema and countless K-dramas, Art Busan 2016 conveyed a leisurely air brought on by the first warm days of spring. Now in its fifth edition, the fair has grown into a sizeable event showcasing some of the best works in the region. With over 190 participating galleries...

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In Related Press

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Jean-Michel Othoniel decodes the secret language of flowers in the Louvre’s collections Related Press Jean-Michel Othoniel decodes the secret language of flowers in the Louvre’s collections Wallpaper* : 17 June 2019

Jean-Michel Othoniel has a fascination with flowers. Long before the French artist became known for his joyful, gold-plated fountain in the gardens of Versailles and his cascading wave of Indian glass bricks, he was already exploring floral motifs, explaining, 'My first works played with anemones buried in sulphur, cut and dissected pomegranates,...

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Othoniel makes a splash in his hometown of Saint-Etienne Related Press Othoniel makes a splash in his hometown of Saint-Etienne The Art Newspaper : 25 May 2018

A towering surge of black glass bricks is about to hit central France. The Big Wave (2018) is the centerpiece of Jean-Michel Othoniel's major retrospective, Facing Obscurity (26 May–16 September). Organised for the Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Saint-Etienne's 30th anniversary, the exhibition is also a homecoming for the artist, who was born...

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Jean-Michel Othoniel's elemental artworks are creating the perfect storm in New York Related Press Jean-Michel Othoniel's elemental artworks are creating the perfect storm in New York Wallpaper* : 8 March 2018

Beaded spirals pirouette through the air at Galerie Perrotin's freshly renovated space in the landmark Beckenstein building at 130 Orchard Street in New York, once a fabric factory and now converted into five floors for programming directed by Peggy Leboeuf and Emmanuel Perrotin. Suspended as the artworks are, their stilled movement reminds you of...

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Artist Othoniel Opens a Major New Exhibition at Perrotin's Downtown NYC Gallery Related Press Artist Othoniel Opens a Major New Exhibition at Perrotin's Downtown NYC Gallery Architectural Digest : 27 February 2018

Jean-Michel Othoniel invites AD into his Paris studio to discuss his expansive—and striking—new show on the eve of its debutThese past few years have been hectic for French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. From completing a major installation for the Angouleme Cathedral Treasury to solo shows in Korea and the South of France, the artist...

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In Video & Audio

Video of the exhibition 'Dark Matters' by Jean-Michel Othoniel Related Video & Audio Video of the exhibition 'Dark Matters' by Jean-Michel Othoniel Perrotin : 30 March 2018

Video of the exhibition Dark Matters by Jean-Michel Othoniel, Perrotin New York, March 3-April 15, 2018© Guillaume Ziccarelli

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