A Descendant of Creative Royalty Shows Off Her Playful Side in a New Paris Solo Show

Artistic inspiration came early for Mia Fonssagrives-Solow. Her stepfather was legendary fashion photographer Irving Penn. Her mother was Lisa Fonssagrives—the first supermodel, according to Vogue—and her father was French photographer Fernand Fonssagrives.

In this garden of creative delights, Fonssagrives-Solow blossomed into her own artist, sculptor, and jewelry designer. “From Mythology to Robots,” a new exhibition at Galerie Agnès Monplaisir in Paris, puts on display the many fruits of her creative output, especially as it relates to the history of her father’s French family.

After all, her great-grandfather Capt. Jean-Baptist Fonssagrives brought the first pieces of early African art to Paris. Those works, including a sculpture of King Behazin of Dahomey, caught the attention of Picasso and several contemporaries. Today, the artworks are considered crucial to the development of modern art.

It’s no surprise, then, that Fonssagrives-Solow has a penchant for early African art, especially the depictions of King Behazin. In this latest show, her playful collection of contemporary sculpture and jewelry pays homage to classic masterpieces, not only from Africa, but also from Ancient Greece. But the inspirations don’t end there: A master in wood and metal, Fonssagrives-Solow worked in bronze and aluminum to create Minotaurs and the titular robots.

Regardless of medium, Fonssagrives-Solow has always maintained a keen sense of humor, be it for a Spookbot, a Femmebot, or Stefan the Minotaur. She humanizes these mythological beasts and computer creatures, adding a colorful flair to her lively work. The robots, for instance, “are people in my life,” she has said. “They all have their quirky ways about them. They’re all characters!”


—Bridget Gleeson


Mia Fonssagrives-Solow: From Mythology to Robots” is on view at Galerie Agnès Monplaisir, Paris, Oct. 14–Nov. 12, 2016.

Follow Galerie Agnès Monplaisir on Artsy.

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