Synopses & Reviews
The first monograph in English devoted to Jean-Michel Othoniel, a singular and secretive artist. This volume follows the evolution of Othoniels atypical approach as he creates a world inhabited by dreams and enchantment, but also haunted by melancholy.
Catherine Grenier is an art historian and director of contemporary collections at the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris. She has organized numerous exhibitions and has written extensively on contemporary Western artists.
About the Author
Jean-Michel Othoniel was born on January 27, 1964 in Saint-Etienne, France. As a young man, Othoniel transformed his own personal mythologies into works of art, utilizing a variety of media, such as installation, film, sculpture, and photography. Throughout the nineties, Othoniel primarily sculpted in brimstone, then turning to volcanic glass after a visit to Sicily where he observed these materials first-hand on the volcanic island.
In 1992 he participated in Documenta in Kassel and the Istanbul Biennial. Two years later he showed at the Féminin/Masculin exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. From the mid-nineties, Othoniel concentrated on the metamorphosis of glass and began collaborating with C.I.R.V.A. (Centre International du Verre et Arts Plastiques) of Marseilles and with the glass masters of Murano. In 1997, he had his first solo show in Venice at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, where he displayed various Murano glass necklaces placed in all corners of the sculpture garden. The following year a retrospective of his work was held in Spain (Granada and Bilbao).
In 2000, in honor of the centennial of Paris metropolitan, Othoniel was commissioned to execute Kiosque des Noctambules, the new entrance to the metro station Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre a place Colette. The alluminum structure features eight hundred glass beads from Murano. In 2004, the Louvre invited Othoniel to participate in the exhibit Contrepoint hosted by the Oriental Antiquities Department. Two years later, Othoniel exhibited again at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, for which he crafted a large necklace made of blown glass. Peggy's Necklace (2006), as it is called, together with other works of glass fashioned in Murano, were used for the occasion to adorn the façade of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, i.e. the home of the museum. Othoniel lives and works in Paris.
He is one of the few artists to combine a rigorous artistic approach with a poetic sensitivity. Possessing a rare ability to make use of the beauty of his materials, this volume follows the evolution of Othoniel's atypical approach. Beyond the seductiveness of form, he creates a world inhabited by dreams and enchantment, but also haunted by suffering and melancholy.