Jacques Jarrige Meets the 20th Century

General / People / Places / Products / May 10, 2013

It’s an idea that only a couple of creative gallerists and curators might come up with:

Pair up the work of contemporary French furniture designer Jacques Jarrige with signature pieces by the late 20th century masters who inspire him.

That means bringing together tables, chairs, chandeliers and screens by Gio Ponti, Charlotte Perriand, Jean Royers. George Nakashima, Johnny Swing and Donald Judd – all touchstones for Jarrige’s work today – with some of his own designs.

“The pieces from the 20th century have a timelessness created by the designers,” says Valerie Goodman, who co-curated a new exhibition called “Affinities” with Helena Barquet of the Sebastian + Barquet Gallery.  “Helena suggested a dialog between Jarrige and some of these designers – she started putting them together, pairing them,” she says.

Each Jarrige piece that curator Goodman selected for the show connects in one way or another with the design objects that Jarrige himself chose from the Sebastian + Barquet Gallery collection. They are, she says, the ancestors and soul mates of Jarrige’s own creations.

“These are pieces for collectors and decorators who enjoy the classic European style of the 1940s and ‘50s and ‘60s,” she says.  “There’s timelessness and simplicity, but we wanted to liven it up, to make it more dynamic and contemporary.”

For example, Donald Judd’s boxy armchair might seem to have little in common with the tremulous lines of Jarrige’s Meander series, partly inspired by his long-term work with psychiatric patients.  But in this endeavor, Jarrige has elevated their amateur awkwardness into a tender and deliberate imperfection that prizes hand over machine.

“The pieces do talk to each other,” she says.  “You get a lot of movement from them, and their dynamics.”

“Affinities” opens at the Sebastian + Barquet Gallery on May 14 and runs through May 22, timed to correspond with Frieze, Design Week and ICFF.

For more information, go to http://www.sebastianbarquet.com/

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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