Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Diary of Happiness, 2008. Glass, wood, 206.0 x 348.0 x 33.0 cm. Private collection. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Mariano C. Peuser.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Large Double Lacan’s Knot, 2011. Mirrored glass, metal, 209.0 x 396.0 x 186.0 cm. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong and Kukje Gallery, Seoul. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

A Mid-Career Retrospective of Jean-Michel Othoniel's 25 Years

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), The Threshold of Very Long Suffering, 1992. Sulfur, 29.0 x 27.0 x 12.0 cm. Artist Collection. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), The Secret Happy End, 2008. Murano glass, Saint Just's mirror glass, metal, vintage carriage, 270.0 x 370.0 x 150.0 cm. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris/Miami, and the artist, 2010.11. © Jean-Michel Othoniel.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), The Secret Happy End (detail), 2008. Murano glass, Saint Just's mirror glass, metal, vintage carriage, 270.0 x 370.0 x 150.0 cm. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris/Miami, and the artist, 2010.11. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Lacan’s Knot, 2009. Mirrored glass, metal, 150.0 x 135.0 x 50.0 cm. Collection François Odermatt. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarell.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Lacan’s Knot (detail), 2009. Mirrored glass, metal, 150.0 x 135.0 x 50.0 cm. Collection François Odermatt. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), My Bed, 2003. Murano glass, steel, aluminium, braid, soft furnishings, felt, 290.0 x 240.0 x 190.0 cm. Collection François Odermatt. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

 

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
718-638-5000
Brooklyn
Jean-Michel Othoniel: My Way
August 17-December 2, 2012

Jean-Michel Othoniel: My Way, a mid-career retrospective of the work of Jean-Michel Othoniel, one of France’s most prominent contemporary artists, features 67 pieces that trace the artist’s career over the past 25 years. It is the artist’s first museum exhibition in the United States. My Way presents Othoniel’s early works from the 1980s, rendered in sulfur, phosphorus, and wax, that touch upon sexual identity and suffering, and his more recent large-scale works made with colorful Murano glass from Italy, a medium that combines strength and fragility. His organic and geometrical glass sculptures conjure historical and popular references while also evoking the fantasy universe of the fairytale. Included will be the Museum’s own Othoniel, The Secret Happy End (2008), as well as four pieces loaned by New York City collectors. The title of the exhibition is taken from the song made famous by Frank Sinatra, My Way, which is symbolic of a unique vision unaffected by popular trends.

Works on view include Self-Portrait in Priest’s Robe (1986), an early meditation on mourning and desire made after the death of a former lover; The Soul Molded in the Bottom (1989), rendered in sulfur, a substance Othoniel considers beautiful yet vulgar and is drawn to for its metamorphic qualities; Black is Beautiful (2003), a monumental work comprised of a double-stranded necklace of black-colored Murano glass beads, the title of which references the cultural movement launched by African Americans in the 1960s; Lacan’s Knot (2009), a piece made with futuristic mirrored glass and steel that evokes the three Borromean rings that provided Jacque Lacan inspiration for his theory of human subjectivity; and Drawings Series (Aquarelle) (1996-2000), a group of detailed watercolor sketches for large-scale projects and commissions realized later, including the Kiosk of Nightwalkers (2000), a Metro entrance that has become one of the most beloved landmarks of Paris.

In the early 1990s, while visiting the Aeolian Islands, Othoniel became interested in obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass that he was able to create artificially for works like Spoonerism (1992). Fascinated by its malleability and transitional properties, he made glass the predominant element in his work and began collaborating with glassmakers in Murano, Italy, and elsewhere around the world. The exhibition will feature his larger-scale glass works including My Bed (2002); glass bead heraldic banners; glass forms that hang like strange fruit or creatures; necklaces magnified to architectural scale; and the artist’s most recent glass sculptures, which are suspended or rise from the ground and feature rows of beads that trace curves and knots suggesting mathematical equations or molecular structures.

Also in the Brooklyn Museum presentation is The Precious Stonewall, a major work produced in India (New Delhi, Firozabad) at the invitation of the French Embassy in collaboration with Culturesfrance (Paris) and the Alliance Française de Delhi and with the support of the Centre Georges Pompidou. This work is a tribute to the piles of bricks that line Indian roads adorned with hundreds of necklaces, each of whose stones have been hand cut like a jewel. Made of hundreds of amber glass bricks, this monumental work is also the artist’s poetic homage to the iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City where the gay rights movement was born.

A Paris-based artist, Jean-Michel Othoniel was born in 1964 in Saint-Etienne, France. Beginning in the 1980s he made art with such mutable materials as sulfur, lead, and beeswax. In 1993, he began using glass, receiving widespread recognition for his sparkling, jewelry-like artworks made with glass globes crafted on the Venetian island of Murano and in other glass centers around the world. He has had solo exhibitions at such venues as the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (2003) and Centre Pompidou (2011) and has participated in international exhibitions including Too French at the Hara Museum ARC in Japan (1991), Documenta IX in Germany (1992), the Kwangju Biennale in South Korea (2000), and the Tenth Istanbul Biennial (2007). He currently lives in Paris.

The Brooklyn Museum presentation is organized by Lisa Small, Curator of Exhibitions, Brooklyn Museum.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Large Self-Supporting Knot, 2011. Mirrored glass, metal, 290.0 x 160.0 x 140.0 cm. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Large Self-Supporting Knot (detail), 2011. Mirrored glass, metal, 290.0 x 160.0 x 140.0 cm. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Spoonerism, 1992. Lipari obsidian, edition of 3, 10 5/8 x 7 7/8 x 3 1/8 in. (27.0 x 20.0 x 8.0 cm). Collection of the artist. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Photograph by Jean-Michel Othoniel.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Black Is Beautiful, 2003. Murano glass, metal, 320.0 x 80.0 x 15.0 cm. Collection Cathy Vedovi. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Hanging Lover, 2010. Murano glass, 85.0 x 15.0 x 15.0 cm. Private collection. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Tears, 2001. Glass, water, table, 140.0 x 500.0 x 70.0 cm. Private collection. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), Black Heart Red Tears, 2007. Glass beads and elements, 320.0 x 432.0 x 15.0 cm. Collection François Odermatt. © Jean-Michel Othoniel/ADAGP, Paris 2012. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Hong Kong. Photograph by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b. 1964), The Secret Happy End, 2008. Murano glass, Saint Just's mirror glass, metal, vintage carriage, 270.0 x 370.0 x 150.0 cm. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris/Miami, and the artist, 2010.11. © Jean-Michel Othoniel.