Hitomi Hosono: C’est Le Bouquet!
23 JUNE – 24 FEBRUARY 2018
“Confined for centuries to vase bodies and plate rims, flowers are breaking out from the decorative arts to enrich contemporary art. The Fondation Bernardaud is presenting seventeen international artists, inspired by the floral theme, that have elected to work in ceramics, most of whom have never exhibited in France. The broad spectrum of ideas expressed in these pieces demonstrates that this ancient, timeless theme has an amazing ability to regenerate itself.”
“In ages past, floral motifs and ceramics were associated with the decorative arts. Prior to the 20th century, the floral subject in sculpture was non-existent. Only recently have artists begun to understand the potential of ceramics as a medium and create works that have made their way into art galleries. C’est le bouquet! explores this new and different relationship, underscoring that the flower has gone from ornamental motif to subject in its own right. Appropriating the rich heritage of ceramics, these artists are inventing new ways of working with the material and overcoming technical difficulties to create on a monumental scale and develop unexpected new textures.
In all cultures, flowers are present in the transactions between the living and the dead, between humans and divinities, and many different meanings are assigned to them. For the artist, the floral theme offers an inexhaustible repertory to address topical issues, whether defending endangered biodiversity or denouncing forms of domination. Several of the works refer to the grand tradition of 17th-century still-life painting. This is a way for the artists to criticize today’s waste-generating society while claiming the status of “art work” for ceramics. In a day and age when challenges to all forms of authority is giving rise to the rejection of hierarchies and frameworks, ceramic flowers are doing away with the old academic distinctions between “major” arts and decorative arts, between art history and mass culture. Flowers and ceramics may be the ultimate expression of modernity. That’s the message that C’est le bouquet ! is sending us.”
Director of the Fondation Bernardaud and exhibition curator
Joséphine Le Foll
Author of the catalogue and art historian specialized in the floral painting genre and Renaissance art
Everyday except sunday