‘Paulin, Paulin, Paulin’ at Galerie Perrotin

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“I am what you could call a para-artist. Someone somewhere between the artistic and the technical spheres. And this only works if it excels in both”. Pierre Paulin.
FullSizeRender copy 10‘Cathedral Table’, 1981 in lacquered aluminum and glass by Paulin, Edition 2014;  ‘Square Ruple’ oil on canvas 2015 by Mike Bouchet; ‘Expansion no 9’ in polyester, 1970, in fibreglass and white lacquer by César 

The ‘Paulin Paulin Paulin’ exhibition at the Galerie Perrotin in Paris is magnificent. It is named after the firm founded in 2008 by Pierre Paulin’s family which produces limited editions of his designs that were never produced, remained at the prototype stage or that were made as a single edition for special commissions. Perrotin creates a powerful dialogue between Paulin’s limited editions produced by the family firm, and the work of contemporary artists, some of whom have used Paulin’s pieces in their work or made reference to it.


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‘Ensemble Dune’ 1970 by Paulin; ‘Juliette’ in polychromed oil polyvinyl and natural hair by John de Andrea
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‘Tapis Siege’ 1970 by Paulin; Reclining Nude mannequin by John de Andrea
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‘Silver Fan’ mirror in stainless steel. You can see the John de Andreas reclining mannequin and man reading reflected in the splintered sheets of steel. A very powerful image
Paulin was at the vanguard of the new society being created in France in the 1960s with the profound cultural and technological changes it brought about. His furniture, incorporating groundbreaking new materials such as flexible jersey material and polyutherane foam, valued the comfort of the user above all and created flexibility and individuality of choice in its use. The modules of his ensembles ‘Dune’ and ‘Tapis Siège’, both commissioned by The Hermann Miller Company in the 1970s, could be put together in any way the user wished and so effectively making him the architect of his own interior space. Perrotin has placed John De Anddrea’s super-realistic naked mannequins on the ‘Jardin à la Française’ carpet and ‘Tapis Siège’.
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‘Declive’ reclining seat, 1966 by Paulin; ‘Walt Disney Productions n 13’ by Bertrand Lavier
The sensual modular curves of the ‘Déclive’ seating, of which the production halted at the creation of just two prototypes (one of which is in the Musée National d’Art Moderne), is testament to the importance Paulin placed on the three-pronged aims of technical excellence, innovation and comfort – combined goals which were radical at the time. Here seen echoing the curves of Bertrand Lavier’s ‘Walt Disney Productions n.13’.
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 Performance Art: Man reclining on a Paulin chair
Performance art also has its place in the exhibition. A naked young man is reclining here in a Paulin  fauteuil reading and listening to music on headphones, seemingly oblivious to the curious stares of visitors. This echoes Elmgreen & Dragset’s 2009 performance at the Venice Biennale in which a young man reads peacefully in the Paulin chair.
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‘Musée du Louvre Paris I’ 2005 C-print by Candida Hofer
Candida Hofer’s starck photograph of the deserted Great Gallery in “Musée du Louvre Paris ” focuses the viewer on Paulin’s ‘Borne’ seating (1968), leading us back to the depths of the image via the line of Paulin seats. This becomes the subject of the image.
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Paulin’s ‘Fauteuil Iena’ and ‘Jardin à la française’ carpet
Paulin’s work is valued here as a potent symbol of modernity, and the sheer brilliance of his vision creates a rich and thought-provoking dialogue with the contemporary art.
Well worth a visit.
Galerie Perrotin, 76 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
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