Opening: Thursday 22 October, 4-10pm
22 October – 19 December 2015
Galerie Perrotin, Paris

« J’ambitionnais de montrer jusqu’où on pouvait aller en matière de modernité »
Pierre Paulin

Held from 22 October to 19 December, the exhibition “Paulin, Paulin, Paulin,” at Galerie Perrotin, Paris offers a dialogue between Pierre Paulin designs produced in limited editions by Paulin, Paulin, Paulin (in particular La Déclive from 1966, plus the “Jardin à la française” armchairs, tables and carpets made specially for the Palais d’Iéna in 1987; Dune and Tapis-siège designed for the Herman Miller project in 1970, etc.), with works by contemporary artists such as Mike Bouchet, César, John De Andrea, Tara Donovan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Laurent Grasso, Candida Höfer, KAWS, Bertrand Lavier, Heinz Mack, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Jesús-Rafael SOTO, and Xavier Veilhan. A number of these artists have used Paulin designs in their own work (Bertrand Lavier, Elmgreen & Dragset, Candida Höfer) while others have created pieces that suggest loose formal affinities or evoke Paulin’s universe.

Paulin, Paulin, Paulin, the firm founded by Pierre Paulin’s family in 2008, works to promote his work. Paulin, Paulin, Paulin produces limited editions of his designs that never got beyond prototype stage, or that were made as an edition of one for special commissions, or that were never produced. They collaborate with the finest craftsmen and are backed by the expertise of Michel Chalard, Paulin’s right-hand man and technical adviser.

The official names of Pierre Paulin’s creations evoke the inventory or industrial models numbers (F560, F437, F582, F577, etc.), but we are more familiar with the descriptive titles of these pieces among others – Mushroom (1960), Orange Slice (1960), Ribbon (1966), Tongue (1967) – that institution such as MoMA New York acquired in 1967. These iconic objects by the most famous French designer of his day heralded the new society being shaped by the massive cultural, economic and technological changes of the early 1960s. Paulin’s furniture fitted the forms of the human body as it freed itself of social constraints. His rigorous research into new materials (elasticated fabrics and polyurethane foam, for example), combined with innovative construction methods placing wellbeing at the heart of the process, authorised all kinds of arrangements and made space malleable. Paulin’s radical artistic stance conjoined formal modularity with sensuous functionalism. His travels in Scandinavia (1951) and Japan (1963) made a lasting impact on his work and aesthetic approach, which he also applied to the interior commissioned for the private apartments of Georges Pompidou at the presidential palace, the Elysée, in 1971 (an ensemble that was even more audacious than the “modern, but classical” pieces commissioned by François Mitterrand in 1983). The body must be one with its surroundings, or rather, the opposite: the floor, walls and ceiling were conceived as a harmonious whole. The tendency to create a low centre of gravity echoed the interiors of Japanese houses and nomads’ tents.

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