JB BLUNK - CONTINUUM

JB BLUNK

CONTINUUM
June 8 - December 29,2024

The Fondation d’entreprise Martell is delighted to present the first retrospective exhibition in Europe of the American sculptor JB Blunk (James Blain Blunk, 1926-2002), organized in collaboration with his daughter Mariah Nielson, director of the JB Blunk Estate, with contributions from Anne Dressen, curator at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

The exhibition CONTINUUM offers an immersion into the work of JB Blunk, unknown to the general public but iconic for many artists, for whom he remains a source of inspiration. The exhibition presents a vast collection of pieces created by Blunk, allowing viewers to grasp his unique and unconventional approach: whether creating works of art or everyday objects, his work – in constant dialogue with his environment – is a powerful plea, placing creation at the heart of everyday life.

Blunk drew his inspiration from his relationship with the nature surrounding him daily: located near the small town of Inverness, California, on an exceptional site in the heart of the forest and close to the Pacific coast. Throughout his life, the artist was dedicated to creating in deep connection with his environment, utilizing the natural resources around him (sequoia stumps and driftwood, earth, stones, etc.) to craft pieces, reconnecting with ancestral forms of expression and playing with scales ranging from modest to monumental.

A selection of over 150 pieces including sculptural works, ceramics, furniture, models, paintings, sketches, and original photographs drawn from both the JB Blunk Estate and private collections illustrates the breadth of his artistic practice, at the intersection of art and craftsmanship. The exhibition includes Blunk’s earliest known ceramic vessel made in Los Angeles while a student at UCLA in the 1940s, as well as a collection of maquettes which have rarely been seen by the public until now. Additionally, letters, works on paper and other ephemera drawn from family archives shed light on the artist’s ways of working, his personal and professional connections, as well as his sources of inspiration, whether from early civilizations, different approaches to spirituality, or his pioneering vision in ecology.

A new film commissioned for the occasion captures the multiple facets of the house and studio that the sculptor built entirely by hand, from the architectural structure to the furniture, including tableware, switches, and even a fully sculpted sink. Mainly made from salvaged materials, the Blunk House, emblematic of his practice and mindset, is considered his major work of total art. The short films aim to convey the unique environment in which Blunk lived with his family near the wild coast of Point Reyes in Northern California. A second new film presents a selection of four monumental works installed in the San Francisco region: carved from blocks of giant sequoia, these public seating sculptures in urban spaces testify to another aspect of Blunk’s work.

The exhibition spans 900m2 and approaches Blunk’s work through 6 thematic sections – Japan, Landscape, Home, Archetypes, Process and Public Projects – presenting his holistic approach to design, art, and architecture. Just as Blunk did not delineate between his life and work, the exhibition sections are intertwined and porous, giving the visitor the experience of his different methods, materials, and inspirations as he experienced them: in constant, insistent conversation with each other. The scenography was specially designed by designer Martino Gamper in collaboration with graphic designer Kajsa Ståhl (Åbäke).

 “By unveiling the little-known work of an artist celebrating the power of nature, life, and creation at the intersection of disciplines, this retrospective aligns with the ambition of the Martell Foundation to encourage the emergence of innovative artistic approaches focused on the ecological transformation of territories and our ways of life.”
Anne-Claire Duprat, Director of the Fondation d’entreprise Martell

Top – Down : Courtesy JB Blunk Estate
Photos 1 et 2 : Blunk House in Inverness, Californie © Leslie Williamson
Photo 3 : JB Blunk, Untitled, c.1970 © Daniel Dent.
Photo 4 : JB Blunk carving Continuum, c. 1979. © Mike Conway
Photo 5 : JB Blunk, Untitled, c.1990 © Daniel Dent.


Mathilde Pellé - Hollow Path

Photos by Mathilde Pellé
Couteau MB-2, Maison soutraire, 2021
Coupelle

MATHILDE PELLÉ

CHEMIN CREUX - HOLLOW PATH
June 8 - December 29, 2024

The Fondation d’Entreprise Martell launches its new exhibition-residency format and invites the designer Mathilde Pellé to share and develop her research approach called «Subtraction». By unfolding various aspects of the work carried out since 2016 – both experimental, critical, formal, and theoretical – the exhibition encourages a careful examination of objects proposed by our societies and the forms that can emerge through subtraction. Pellé continues the inexhaustible question that guides her creations, her thinking, and her relationship to design: «Why is there something rather than less?»

For the exhibition «Hollow Path», she experiments with the ruin of domestic environments by subtraction and imposes a protocol by which she removes material from everyday objects by scraping and stripping them, thus creating new ob­jects from the void.

Drawing on aspects of her work, she shares her insights into a direction that is completely disregarded in favour of more, addition, and growth: that of less. Her approach leads her to study the barriers (political, social, psychological, etc.) that limit our ability to choose less and/or accept it. Why is adding more, in most cases, the predominant choice? What are the logics at work that lead us globally to choose more, how did they emerge, and why?

Since the limits linked to material production must be recognised and accepted globally in these times marked by ecological urgency, should we not at the same time open up a non-limiting exploration of less, of the little, of the smallest?

If it is approached as a direction to be probed, the less allows us to reconsider our material environments and authorises a critique of the dominant models that are curiously both produ­cers of exhaustion and saturation.

Why are the abilities of artists and designers to read and analyse the world of forms (surrounding and/or produced) essential to the reformulation of a common equilibrium? In what ways can these non-academic approaches be the vectors or supports of profound transformations? It is these «hollow paths», without certain answers, that Mathilde Pellé explores.


Meet Aline Girard & Gwendal Coulon

© Gwendal Coulon

Meet Aline Girard & Gwendal Coulon

"Piéces Montées" (Ceramic Sculptures)

Book here

For the second part of their residency, the duo of artists will present the results of the experimentation conducted on the Foundation’s ceramic 3D printer. Their research has focused on the reinterpretation, either partially or entirely, of scans of museum archaeological objects available freely on several online databases.
Following an initial phase of printing with layers of clay, comes the coloring and texturing stage, invoking both new technologies and references to traditional text-bearing pottery. Embracing the striations inherent to the printing process, as well as the errors resulting from this experimental production method and the plasticity of the clay, the duo delivers a first series of stoneware, colored with sprayed porcelain slips, followed by a second series using porcelain directly tinted in the mass and printed.

Meet Aline Girard and Gwendal Coulon on May 22nd at 6.30 pm, free admission


Glass Blowing Workshops "Baptism of fire"

Baptism of fire

On Wednesdays

Next sessions in 2024 : No sessions currently available

GLASS BLOWING INITIATION WORKSHOP

The Fondation d’entreprise Martell invites you to experience the art of glassblowing through their introductory workshop, the “Baptism of Fire.” Led by skilled glass craftsman Jean-Charles Miot, this initiation session offers participants the opportunity to create their first glass pieces using traditional glassblowing techniques.

Objectives of the workshop :
– Discover the various tools used for glassblowing : ovens, cane, etc
– Learn about glass techniques
– Shape and blow simple shapes and glass pieces with a cane

Safety Instructions :
– Participants will be provided with safety overshoes to wear over flat, closed-toe shoes.
– We recommend wearing cotton clothes with a long-sleeved top
– Please bring a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the session
– Please tie long hair

The cost of the workshop is €85 ( for 2 hours). Payment can be made directly to the craftsmen via SumUp, check, or cash.

Please note that registration is limited to three people per session and reserved for adults.