September 6 - October 6, 2012
L&M Arts, in collaboration with Galerie Perrotin, is proud to present Othoniel. This exhibition will feature nine new glass and steel sculptures by prominent French contemporary artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, and will be on view concurrently with the artist’s traveling mid-career retrospective now at the Brooklyn Museum, My Way.
Othoniel’s dynamic installation of poetic and minimal structures transform the neo-classical galleries of L&M Arts into a mysterious and whimsical environment. For instance, Gigantic Necklace, a site-specific work consisting of gradated black and silver glass beads, is suspended from the gallery’s fifth floor skylight in an uninterrupted chain, descending through the center of the spiral staircase to the first floor.
Reflecting on the work of Constantin Brancusi, four Knots (Noeuds), monumental coiled strings of glass beads, capture the abstract essence of movement. Another sculpture consisting of a labyrinth of mirrored surfaces, Black Tornado, explores the tempest as an abstract concept: movement around a central void. While Othoniel’s work is also inspired by historical references as diverse as Italian Baroque and American Minimal art, his conception of the knot itself has roots in the psychoanalytic symbol used by Jacques Lacan to explicate the structure of the human psyche.
Indeed, like Lacan’s signs, Othoniel’s work often implicates an absent body. For example, when in the presence of the grand, floating Garland Necklace installed on the second floor, each spectator can conceptually wear it; and with Black Tornado the visitor occupies the eye of the storm. Also on the second floor, Othoniel’s Precious Stonewalls, crafted with the help of glass blowers from the Agra region of India, are related to his The Precious Stonewall, a major work produced in India at the invitation of the French Embassy. Here, Othoniel pays homage to the 1969 Greenwich Village Stonewall Riots and the birth of the gay rights movement.
The sculptures on view at L&M Arts are large in size, but they capture Othoniel’s truly subtle sensibility. By manipulating scale, Othoniel provides the viewer with the distance necessary to see, and to experience, sensuality in everyday encounters.
To accompany this exhibition, L&M Arts has published a fully illustrated catalogue, Othoniel, featuring an essay by renowned scholar Pepe Karmel. In addition, the European publisher SKIRA-Flammarion has released a catalogue in English of the artist’s retrospective exhibition, My Way, which will also be available at L&M Arts.