After Versailles, the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre, it is the Petit Palais’ turn to open its doors to Jean-Michel Othoniel for his largest solo exhibition since 2011. With no less than 70 works, the artist invents “The Theorem of Narcissus” and invites us to observe the world’s reflection at the same time as our own reflection. Overview of this exhibition to be seen until January 2, 2022.
Jean-Michel Othoniel: a virtuoso of glass
If the name Jean-Michel Othoniel does not yet ring a bell, you have probably already seen some of his works. Thus, many Parisians pass every day in front of one of them at Palais Royal, where he dressed a metro station in 2000. Since 2014 he can also boast of being the first contemporary artist to present a permanent work at the Château de Versailles where he has redesigned the bosquet of the Water Theater. More recently, he was invited by the Louvre Museum to exhibit a series of paintings…
Trained at the École nationale des arts supérieurs de Cergy-Pontoise, Jean-Michel Othoniel first worked with sulfur and wax before beginning to use glass in 1994. Collaborating with the best Murano glass masters, he gradually explored the many properties of this material, which then became his trademark.
Elected in 2018 to the Academy of Fine Arts, Jean-Michel Othoniel is now internationally recognized. Each of his exhibitions hits the bull’s-eye and the charm works again this year in the beautiful setting of the Petit Palais.
An exhibition to resist the disillusionment of the world
In this exhibition placed under the sign of re-enchantment, which has just opened at the Petit Palais, Jean-Michel Othoniel invents the Theorem of Narcissus: the story of a man-flower who, by reflecting himself, reflects the world around him.
“I wanted to create a place of unreality, of enchantment, of illusion, of liberation of the imagination, a place on the border of dreams that allows us to resist the disillusionment of the world during the visit.” – Jean-Michel Othoniel
In this enchanting universe, which begins at the entrance to the museum with the blue river that seems to flow down the steps of the Petit Palais, the artist invites us to plunge our gaze into his works to observe our own reflection and, with it, the reflection of the building. Placed on the trees or in the garden ponds, the works echo the Petit Palais, its sculptures and decorative elements.
After wandering through the garden, take a trip to the basement to explore the rest of the exhibition. Above the staircase that leads you there (one of the most beautiful staircases in Paris, in my opinion), you will notice another of the artist’s works, “Crown of the Night” – which will remain in the museum’s collections – before discovering the marvel: a room covered with a large blue river above which are suspended various sculptures, the fruit of ten years of work. One turns and turns around without ever having finished observing this masterpiece as if each reflection was a new work to discover.
The beauty of Jean-Michel Othoniel’s work comes from its resonance with the world. Depending on the time of day we go to see his works, the seasons, the lighting or simply our mood, something new comes out and it is a perpetual enchantment.
A free exhibition open to all
While the permanent collections of the Petit Palais are always accessible free of charge, its exhibitions are subject to a fee… with the exception of this one, which visitors can discover freely. Until January 2, 2022, visitors will be able to enjoy coming and going to see this exhibition whose reflections will evolve with the seasons.
And if you go to see it, then take the time to wander around the rest of the museum to (re)discover the permanent collections. Enjoy your visit!
Winston Churchill street
75008 Paris (France)
Until January 2, 2022
Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 8am
Friday until 9pm