Interview with Jacques Jarrige

Fiori chandelier by Jacques Jarrigejpg

Fiori chandelier, 1998
Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
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Jacques Jarrige is a thinker. Reflection plays a major part in his creative process.  In his work what attracts and fascinates us is the deeply thoughtful and artistic element which encompasses furniture design, sculpture and art. Therein lies its uniqueness.
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Sculpted LEDA lamp in wood
Leda wood-sculpted standing lamp, 1998.  This is one of the pieces Jarrige is perhaps most attached to as it is emblematic to him of the ‘form pleine’, of volume.
Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
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Pair of armchairs, 1998
Pair of armchairs, 1998
Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
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The early days of Jarrige’s career take us back to the 1980s in Paris and the dawn of the avant-gardist ‘En Attendant les Barbares’ gallery. Having completed architectural studies, Jarrige explained to us that at the time he was questioning his place in the creative world, knowing he wanted to be a sculptor and to create…..when the perfect solution presented itself in the form of the renowned avant-garde gallery. Exhibiting alongside artists like Elisabeth Garouste, Mattia Bonetti and Eric Schmitt, Jarrige was encouraged by the gallery’s founder, Federic de Luca  to express himself with the new artistic vocabulary using brut materials and creating furniture with a deeply sculptural nature and starting point.
“The Arts Decoratifs started at that time to move in a new direction thanks to the gallery and I found myself exactly where I wanted to be”, says Jarrige.  “If not for them, my work would have taken a very different turn, a different destination I’m sure. At the time there were, in my opinion, two dominant approaches in France – artists who worked from drawings (‘”le dessin”) and those whose work relied more on the physical gest, a closeness with the material and the conflict between space and volume. Like a metal-forger.  A more sculptural approach. Now of course there are 35 or more different directions that have been taken!”
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Desk by Jacques Jarrige
Unique writing desk cabinet, 2006
Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
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Pair of consoles with drawers, 2011
Pair of consoles with drawers, 2011
Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
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Pair of hand sculpted stools

 Pair of hand-sculpted stools, 2013
Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
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Green Cloud tabouret
Hand lacquered ‘Cloud’ table, 2015
Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
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Jarrige still ponders the question “Do I create sculpture…..or furniture….or both?”, He glides between the two, exploring the universe of form, meandering lines, void and volume, space and solid forms and the dialogue between them. However he is clear that he is not a ‘designer’ in the sense that “I do not create collection after collection but move with my inspiration, an approach which Federic de Luca encouraged in my early days. For me it is not possible to work within a vocabulary of ‘collections’, to move from one day to the next in the creative sense and categorise my work into ordered collections. For me it is a pleasure to accept commissions to make my pieces from years back. I never have the feeling when I look at my earlier pieces that they are old, that they are part of a series or collection”.
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Affinities exhibition, Sebastien & Barquet, NYC
‘Affinities’ exhibition, 2013, Sebastien & Barquet. Curated by Valerie Goodman and Helen Barquet. You can see Jarrige’s ‘Dance Screen’ 2011 in the left foreground
 Photo courtesy of Valerie Goodman Gallery
He has been working with the Valerie Goodman gallery in New York since 2010 and loves the fresh and open outlook of the American market. The ‘Affinities’ exhibition at the Sebastien + Barquet gallery curated by Goodman and Helen Barquet in 2013 was sensational, daring and dynamic. They showed Jarrige’s work alongside that of such design greats as Gio Ponti, Charlotte Perriand, George Nakashima and Jean Royere, mixing the timeless quality of the classic European style of the 1940s, 50s and 60s with Jarrige’s dynamic contemporary pieces.  “Nakashima was the one I felt most affinity with – the one who for me was closest to his material” says Jarrige.  This choice is not surprising when you understand the sculptural elements underpinning Jarrige’s work. There is indeed a strong sculptural quality to Nakashima’s work and a purity of line and direct connection with the material.
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 Unique Osselet stool 2006 Unique Osselet stool, 2006. 
This piece was exhibited in the excellent ‘Oracles du Design’ exhibition at the Gaieté Lyrique in Paris this year. Exhibition curated by Lidewij Edelkoort.  Click here for our earlier post for coverage of that exhibition. 
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Bureau, Jacques Jarrige
Photo courtesy of Jacques Jarrige
This beautiful and whimsical desk (above) with its swirling but controlled arcs was first inspired by the enthusiasm of the present owner of the desk who moved Jarrige with her energy and spirit and the interchange it provoked. This is the very essence of the artist – his desire for human interchange and dialogue, and his exploration in turn of the dialogue between space, line and material in his work.
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Mobile, Jacques Jarrige
 Photos courtesy of Jacques Jarrige
In his exploration of the very nature of creativity, Jarrige has been inspired and influenced by the atelier he has run in a Paris psychiatric hospital for 25 years. “I have found my work with the patients has illuminated for me a form of natural expression and a freedom of gest that is unforced and pure. It has freed my work. Moving closer to his sculptural roots and a redefinition of space, Jarrige will be exhibiting an aluminum mobile (above) this December in the Sofitel in Miami to coincide with Design Miami. This work with its meandering swirl of aluminum shows Jarrige delineating space not through lines but through material. “I want to sculpt in space where space is inhabited and becomes part of the piece so a sort of balance is achieved and a dialogue is formed between the two”.
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His work is in the collections of Mobilier National and the Musée des Beaux Arts in Orléans.

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MAD (Museum of Art and Design) in New York recently held an exhibition of Jarrige’s sculptural bijoux, called
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 What an incredible creative journey so far. We have a feeling there’s a lot more to come from Jacques Jarrige.  Watch this space!
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