Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jean Nouvel at Gagosian Gallery, Athens

May 26, 2016 - Jul 30, 2016
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present Triptyques, a series of limited edition mirrors, and Boîte à outils (Tool Box), a sculpture by Jean Nouvel.

Like many Modernist predecessors who worked across related disciplines, Nouvel describes himself as an architect and a designer. His design products derive from architectural commissions, or from alternative visions that correspond to his building design but which are linked to specific use. Regardless of the scale of the object or the architecture, Nouvel employs the same rigorous approach, imbuing the objects and accoutrements of everyday life with a certain lyricism that is also streamlined and utilitarian.

As the title suggests, Triptyques are three-paneled colored mirrors, each in an edition of six. The central panel is fixed to the wall, while flanking and cantilevered panels are engineered to be movable. Four mirrors are presented, each different in color and orientation. Nouvel comments, "The mirror is a piece that you want to live with, in which you reflect intimate images—images from your home; you can capture a piece of a window in it somewhere." Colors range from light orange to blood orange to red, his signature color. The mirror finds its essence whether open or closed. When opened, Nouvel's mirrors evince the importance of color in their surroundings; when closed, they preserve a certain austere elegance.

The extra-large stainless steel tool box titled Boîte à outils (1987–2011), meanwhile, is an emblematic and celebrated design. It is an object of function and fantasy at the same time—a deluxe storage system based on the standard toolbox that can be found in every household. Nouvel has reinterpreted this utilitarian staple, streamlining it while endowing it with additional features.

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