PLATEAU Samsung Museum of Art Announces Jean-Michel Othoniel My Way

PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art presents My Way, a mid-career retrospective of the leading French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel (b.1964, Saint-Étienne). This exhibition encompasses the artist’s unique artistic spectrum from the early works of the 1980s to the latest monumental installations contemplating the philosophy of existence through the formal beauty of glass. Open 8 September–27 November 2011.

Including several new works exhibited for the first time, My Way traces the artist’s career from the intimate and poetic early period to the spectacular world of fantasy that sparks the viewer’s imagination. Othoniel’s artistic oeuvre, based on personal experiences and trauma, can be characterized by the use of unpredictable and sensitive materials such as sulfur, phosphorous, wax and glass. These unique and rare materials mostly reference the body in the context of sexual identity and body discourse of the 1990s, but at the same time, demand the viewer’s empathy for the artist’s own suffering as an individual. Reflecting the ambivalence of life through the tension between beauty and repulsion inherent within the materials, the artist’s oeuvre narrates a ‘personal mythology’ that is conceptually and formally distant from the contemporary art historical trends.

Exploring the boundaries of the natural and organic worlds, the artist has endlessly challenged the limits of the genre. After discovering glass in the 1990s, its color and infinite artistic possibilities of the medium that combines strength and fragility, Othoniel’s work took on new monumentality beyond the sculptural dimension. Expanding the delicate form of the necklace into architectural scale, Othoniel’s artistic strategy clearly pays homage to surrealism, but also reflects on history and popular culture. In particular, it adds new dimension to the visual field by restoring a world of fantasy and beauty that has long been neglected in contemporary art history.

As the title of the exhibition My Way indicates, this exhibition hopes to provide an opportunity to present Othoniel’s unique artistic path over the past 25 years, sublimating the mourning of loss into beauty in his own way. Moreover, the exhibition also includes a photo-archive documenting the artist’s prolific travels and personal encounters, which provide the basis of his artistic inspiration, as well as a participatory installation, entitled The Wishing Wall that will allow more intimate connection between the visitors and the artist.

Curated by So-yeon Ahn, Chief Curator, PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art, Korea and Catherine Grenier, Curator, Centre Pompidou, France

PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art was first inaugurated in 1999 as Rodin Gallery, presenting its permanent installation of Auguste Rodin’s monumental masterpieces The Gates of Hell and The Burghers of Calais, and has established itself as one of the central institutions in the Korean contemporary art scene over the next decade.

In May 2011, Rodin Gallery reopened its doors under the new name, PLATEAU, aspiring for a broader scope of program, as well as higher artistic grounds for artists and art lovers alike.

With the new name, PLATEAU expresses our renewed commitment to embracing the Korean and international contemporary art scene, in continuation with our permanent display of Rodin masterpieces.

PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art
1st Floor, Samsung Life Insurance Building
Taepyeongno2-Ga, Jung-Gu,
Seoul, KOREA 100-716

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