Curators and gallerists Valerie Goodman and Helena Barquet are pleased to present Affinities, an exhibition opening May 14 and running through May 22, 2013 corresponding to Frieze, Design Week and ICFF. The Affinities exhibit brings together the furniture of French designer Jacques Jarrige with signature pieces by Gio Ponti, Charlotte Perriand, Jean Royere, George Nakashima, Donald Judd and Johnny Swing — all of whom have served as touchstones for the Paris-based artist and furniture maker.
Each Jarrige piece that curator Valerie Goodman has selected for this show connects in one way or other with the illustrious design objects by these modern masters Jarrige himself has chosen from the Sebastian + Barquet gallery collection. These are the ancestors and soul mates of Jarrige’s own creations.
Not all connections are obvious at first sight. The towering Secretaire that the Milanese designer Gio Ponti built in 1930 from walnut, satinwood and bronze looks dark and severe compared to Jarrige’s fine-boned, delicate, almost fragile Mobile — yet each perform a balancing act: the former by virtue of its exaggerated verticality, the latter as an actual kinetic feat.
Alternately, Ponti’s 1964 skai, walnut and brass chairs developed for Rome’s Hotel Parco dei Principe employ a vocabulary of agile open forms that characterizes Jarrige’s own design language. Charlotte Perriand’s Les Arcs Dining table from 1968 feels very close to Jacques Jarrige’s aesthetic, with its daring asymmetrical simplicity, and standing on steely, abstracted claw feet — Jarrige, too, combines radical clarity with occasional zoomorphic elements.
Jean Royere’s aristocratically formal Five Light Sconce may appear reserved beside the undulating tendrils of the chandelier which Jarrige cut from a single sheet of brass— yet both forms are based on plants. Nature is, of course, present in its most uncompromised essence in the works of George Nakashima, an artist Jarrige has long admired for the tension between the raw and the refined – a goal he himself pursues. And while Johnny Swing’s Murmuration chaise made from thousands of nickels shines coldly, its curvaceous contour does not only evoke Henry Moore (whose sculptures provided Jarrige with his first electrifying art experience). Murmuration also bears a clear resemblance to Jarrige’s organically shaped Toro table.
Donald Judd’s boxy armchair might seem to have little in common with the tremulous lines of Jarrige’s Meander series that was partly inspired by his long-term work with psychiatric patients. In this most recent endeavor Jarrige has elevated their amateur awkwardness into a tender, deliberate imperfection that prizes hand over machine without sacrificing an overall elegance. But Jarrige shares Judd’s preference for plywood, and embraces his philosophy: if the nature of furniture is seriously considered, Judd has said, “The art will occur, even art close to art itself.”
Celebrated on the occasion of ICFF 2013, this gathering of kindred spirits from two centuries and two continents will be presented on May 14th, from 6 pm to 9pm at Sebastian + Barquet, 601 West 26th Street, Suite 300, NY, NY 10001