Zut! is a collaborative exhibition which celebrates the intersection of art and design. Occupying an 18th century mansion on 72 rue de l’Université in the 7th arrondissement, this immersive exhibition is the brainchild of 7 international galleries: A1043 (Paris, France), Deli Gallery (New York, USA), Friedman/Johnson (Miami, USA), Galerie Mitterrand (Paris, France) Salon 94 Design (New York, USA), The Breeder (Athens, Greece)and Volume Gallery (Chicago, USA).
Built in 1728 as the Hôtel de Guise, this once opulent hôtel particulier has been known under many names including Hôtel du président Chauvelin, Hôtel de Rougé, Hôtel de Mme de Lurcy and finally, L’Hôtel Chauvelin de Crisenoy. While its former grandeur eventually fell into romantic decay, it has more recently become inspiration for artists and curators alike who have breathed new life into its derelict shell. Zut! embraces the building’s storied past, and responds with different visions of how contemporary art and design can synergistically co-exist. Installed in this modern ruin, each installation triggers the imagination with a sense of possibility, impermanence, and play.
Salon 94 Design presents a solo presentation of sculptural furniture in bronze and cartapesta by Rome-based artist F. Taylor Colantonio, alongside a new set of silver nitrate furniture by London-based designer Max Lamb, and resin works from the studio of radical Italian architect Gaetano Pesce. Also included in our presentation are paintings by Iranian feminist artist Nazanin Jahangir and a historically significant portrait by surrealist master Leonor Fini.
Salon 94 Design presents 53 Miles West of Venus, an exhibition of new sculptural furniture by Rome-based artist F. Taylor Colantonio. Colantonio’s work stems from a fascination with marble and stone – particularly its formation over the course of millions of years and its ability to hold ancient mysteries. This research has led Colantonio to develop a material of his very own, a new process which mimics the processes of marble forming in nature – the sedimentation and compression of minerals, silica, and organic matter. Colantonio’s cartapesta works are sculpted with hundreds of layers of colored paper and mineral dust which is ground down and polished to reveal layers of planned marbling and veining. The finished works are like marble, are cold to the touch, but light in weight. “The result is a fantasy, an imperceptible metamorphic material that could not exist on Earth, but has perhaps come to us from an ‘otherworld’,” writes Colantonio.
This playful material exploration, which Colantonio renders with a strange but ancient formal vocabulary, has led the artist to begin experimenting with imagined extraterrestrial geologies and celestial mythologies – using NASA’s Mars and lunar soil replicants as material, as seen in Red Narcissus, 2022. It is within this surreal, mythological otherworld – part Ovid, part NASA – that Colantonio presents 53 Miles West of Venus. Set in an 18th century Parisian salon, Colantonio reimagines the ‘Toilet of Venus’ motif, a neo-classical artistic trope in which the goddess Venus is depicted in her celestial bedchamber. Lagoon Nebula, 2022, a chandelier encrusted with murano glass and polished ammonites hangs above One Long as Twenty, 2022. A bronze daybed cast with lost wax in Italy, which takes its name from an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis:
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty:
A summer’s day will seem an hour but short,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.
F. Taylor Colantonio, is an artist who lives and works in Rome. Born in Boston in 1988, he earned his MFA in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design in 2013. In Puglia, Colantonio apprenticed with the most renowned living Maestro of cartapesta, or papier-mâché, where the technique is used to make religious effigies to be carried in processions.
Leonor Fini (Argentine/French, 1907–1996) was a painter, graphic designer, illustrator, and set and costume designer associated with the Surrealist movement. Born in Buenos Aires, the largely self-taught artist moved to Italy, where she held her first solo exhibition in 1929. In 1931, she relocated to Paris, and soon became associated with the Surrealists, first exhibiting with them in 1933. Fini’s art focused on the complex relationship between men and women, primarily the interaction between the dominant female and the passive male. In many of her works, the female figure takes the form of a sphinx, often with the face of the artist. In addition, Fini was also an accomplished portrait painter, and her subjects included many of the most famous artists, actresses, and socialites of the day. Fini was also an accomplished stage and screen designer, creating award-winning sets, costumes, and posters for the Paris Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Association, George Balanchine’s Le Palais de cristal, Anouilh’s Les Demoiselles de la nuit, Renato Castellani’s Romeo and Juliet, Federico Fellini’s 8 1⁄2, and John Huston’s A Walk with Love, among others.
Portrait of Portrait of Elizabeth (Bessie) de Cuevas Faure, 1950 depicts the then 21 year old daughter of Margaret Strong de Cuevas, one of the richest women in the world at that time who had married Hubert Faure, a company executive, 2 years prior to sitting for Fini’s portrait. Here, Bessie sits enveloped in a turquoise blue fabric, seemingly floating in a cloud of color of the same hue; The fabric acting to cloak her identity and female body, the colorfield blue background freeing her from context. The dramatic background and enveloping costume also reflect the artist’s passion for performance and background in stage design. For Fini, theatricality was liberating, not frivolous – a means to free oneself from one’s context. Indeed, Bessie de Cuevas did later divorce and move to the United States where she still lives and works as an artist.
After a decade of coating polystyrene in rubber, Max Lamb is still innovating with new coating materials. Lamb’s new highly reflective chairs begin in the same process as his previous Poly works. Lamb hot- wire cuts polystyrene to create wavy ridges, which is then sprayed in a rubber that dries within seconds creating signature drips. The final step of silvering — a wet application process of silver nitrate similar to the traditional mirroring process.
A precise chemical solution of silver nitrate and sodium hydroxide is mixed to make a wet solution which is then applied to the rubber coated poly chair. As the solution dries and settles, silver deposits create a mirrored surface. The contours of the chairs are accentuated by the light reflecting from every angle. Meanwhile the edges of the chair are blurred as its mirrored surface refelcts the surroundings.
Max Lamb designs sophisticated and personal bodies of work particular to material, location, and tradition. His series unfold intimate stories from conception, creation, and to completion. He has carved stone from China to Italy, and Vermont, and casts pewter in sandy beaches all around the world.
Max Lamb was born in Cornwall, England, in 1980. He lives and works in London, United Kingdom. Lamb’s works are collected by numerous public institutions around the world, including the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, the Design Museum Gent in Belgium, The Design Museum in London, SFMOMA in San Francisco and the Odunpazarı Modern Museum in Eskişehir, Turkey. In 2018 he had a solo show “Max Lamb: Exercises in Seating” at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Influenced by the Secession era paintings of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, Nazanin Jahangir paints portraits of women who reflect not only the formal approach of Australian masters, but also her own Iranian heritage and cultural identity. The works works are intrinsically linked with the Western concept of female portraiture and 19th century depictions of women in the Qajar period, yet they represent the spirit, confidence and courage of Iranian women who have experienced systematic and structural discrimination – “Women, life, freedom” is the slogan of all of them.
Nazanin Jahangir (b. 1989 Shiraz, Iran) is currently studying and working in Vienna. She graduated from the Department of Dramatic Arts, Art and Architecture, I.A. University of Shiraz, Iran. After graduation, she worked as a theatre instructor in Shiraz before moving to Vienna to study at the University of Vienna (Theatre, Film and Media Studies). Since 2018, Nazanin has been studying Figurative Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
“Around 1972, I started this idea that design is a form of art. If we respect certain conditions, art can be amplified to be a more rich expression: design. The Pratt Chair was an opportunity for me to demonstrate what I was saying. This is a story between what we consider design, and what we consider art. But in case of the Pratt Chair, it is a banality- because what changes is just the chemical formula. This is ironic because we make a lot of talk about design/art, art/design. The Pratt Chair- depending on the density of resin, is a sculpture or a chair. The idea was to make #1-9, changing the formula from #1 liquid, to a little more resistant, to structural, to dense- until #9.The formula of the # 1 was jelly- as soon as we opened the mold, the chair collapsed — like a body with no bones. In that moment we cannot use the chair. We can only look at the chair — as we do with art. We then changed the formula. So, #2 is a little stronger, when we open the mold the chair stands up but if you touch it, it collapses. Then, #3 is a chair that a small child might sit, but it also gives the child a kind of insecurity because the chair wobbles. #4 is okay for the child, as #5 and #6 might be for an adult. Then #7 changes again because the curve hardens- hugging the back. Number #8 and #9 are so rigid that they become uncomfortable” — Gaetano Pesce in conversation with Glenn Adamson, October 2018.
In 1984 Pesce requested to use Pratt’s laboratory, studio space and tools to make molds for a special chair he had modeled in wax. Thus the Pratt Chair was named. Initially, Pesce intended to make a series of 81 chairs using nine resin formulas, yielding nine chairs from each formula, however in this initial experiment he made only thirty-four.
The Pratt Chair is a series of volumes on the floor, and exists as a physical manifestation of Pesce’s argument that “design is a form of art”. Glenn Adamson explains, “while in a series and made from a mold, the Pratt Chair resists the modernist idea of a perfect chair. The first chair and the ninth chair are the ones that are more like sculpture because they become unusable. It is like a shifting set of values.” For Pesce material processes has always been experiments in liquid form. For Pesce, the liquidity of resin is a metaphor for the character of our time, “Where values move around, up and down like a liquid”.
The Pratt Chair communicates though its organic human shape and the symbols inscribed on the resin. The hand, for example is a symbol that speaks to the difference between an idea and a physical object, representing manual labor that is required to make and test the functionality of the chair.