Dec 9, 2023–Apr 21, 2024

Bijoy Jain. Studio Mumbai

Breath of an Architect
261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris
Wed 11 am–10 pm Wed–Sun 11 am–8 pm

The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents Breath of an Architect, an exhibition especially created for the institution by architect Bijoy Jain, founder of Studio Mumbai in India. Bijoy Jain's work reflects a deep concern for the relationship between man and nature, in which time and gesture are essential factors. Exploring the links between art, architecture, and material, Bijoy Jain offers at the Fondation Cartier a space of reverie and contemplation in dialogue with Jean Nouvel’s iconic building.

Bijoy Jain imagines the exhibition as a physical and emotional experience. Breath of an Architect is an invitation to breathe, wander in quietude and rediscover silence: "Silence has a sound, we hear its resonance in ourselves. This sound connects all living beings, it is the breath of life. It is synchronous in all of us. Silence, time and space are eternal, as is water, air and light our elemental construct. This abundance of sensory phenomena, dreams, memory, imagination, emotions and intuition stem from this pool of experiences, embedded in the corners of our eyes, in the soles of our feet, in the lobes of our ears, in the timbre of our voices, in the whisper of our breath and in the palm of our hands."

Convening light and shadow, lightness and gravity, wood, brick, earth, stone, and water, the architect composes a sensory experience, in resonance with the materials. Crafted in rhythm with the breath and shaped by hand, the exhibition’s installation is composed of architectural fragments. Stone and terracotta sculptures, facades of traditional Indian dwellings, rendered panels, lines of pigment drawn with thread, bamboo structures inspired by tazias — funerary monuments carried on the shoulders in memory of a Saint during Shiite muslim processions — these transitory, ephemeral structures present a world that is both infinite and intimate and carry us to places both near and far.

On a suggestion from Hervé Chandès, general exhibition curator and Fondation Cartier’s artistic managing director, Bijoy Jain has also invited Chinese painter living in Beijing HU Liu and Turkish-born Danish ceramist living in Paris Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye to join him in creating the exhibition. All three give the same importance to the ritual mastery of gesture, to resonance, and dialogue with material; they share the same ethos and sensibility. HU Liu’s monochrome black drawings are created using graphite, repeating iterations of the same movement to reveal the essence of natural elements: grass caressed by the wind, the rolling of the waves, or the silhouette of tree branches, conveying a timeless solemnity.

Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye’s ceramics are also the culmination of great skill and dexterity, as well as an intense dialogue with the clay, weightlessness in the experience of her work.

For Bijoy Jain, the physical world we inhabit is a palimpsest of our cultural evolution. Humanity moves through a landscape in constant evolution, one whose successive writings are intertwined. In Breath of an Architect, we are offered a glimpse, however fleeting, of architecture’s sensorial emanations, the intuitive forces that bind us to the elements and our emotional relationship with space.

Sur une suggestion d’Hervé Chandès, commissaire de l’exposition et directeur général artistique de la Fondation Cartier, Bijoy Jain convie également l’artiste chinoise vivant à Pékin HU Liu et la céramiste danoise d’origine turque demeurant à Paris Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye. Accordant la même importance à la maîtrise rituelle du geste, à la résonance et au dialogue avec la matière, tous trois partagent le même éthos et la même sensibilité. Les dessins monochromes noirs de HU Liu sont entièrement réalisés au graphite, par l’itération d’un même mouvement, afin de révéler l’essence d’éléments naturels : l’herbe caressée par le vent, le ressac des vagues ou la silhouette des branches d’un arbre. Les céramiques d’Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye, comme en apesanteur, sont également le fruit d’une grande dextérité et d’un dialogue intense avec la terre.

Pour Bijoy Jain, le monde physique que nous habitons est un palimpseste de notre évolution culturelle. L’humanité traverse un paysage en constante évolution, dont les écritures successives s’entremêlent.

Le souffle de l’architecte tente de donner un aperçu, aussi fugace soit-il, de la sensorialité qui émane de l’architecture, de la force intuitive qui nous lie aux éléments et de notre rapport émotionnel à l’espace.