The thirty-four artists united in these “Formes du transfert” (“Forms of transference”) have created work using singular materials: leather, silver, silk and crystal. Over the years since the programme began in 2010, each has carried out a residency in a Hermès workshop, whether a leatherworks, textile atelier, the Puiforcat silversmiths or the crystal-maker Saint-Louis. Beyond these exceptional materials, in some cases rarely used in contemporary art, the artists came into contact with a wide range of unique gestures and savoir-faire, thanks to the expertise and engagement of the craftspeople working alongside them. Each work produced by the artists therefore constitutes both an original creation and the result of a human adventure, a story of exchange and transmission akin to the psychoanalytical process of “transference”, according to the curator, Gaël Charbau. “Why would we spend so much time perfecting a form if it wasn’t that this action is indescribably linked to something buried deep within us?” he asks. Indeed, the works gathered in this exhibition all resonate, in different ways, with the mechanisms through which desires buried in the past resurface and are actualised.
In this respect, the time spent in the conception of artistic works, punctuated as it is by trial and error, by successes and inevitable failures, proves to be infinitely precious: “In a present dominated by constant rush and a craving for efficiency,” Gaël Charbau suggests, “this slow time of the passing on of knowledge, this time of exchange, this time of transfer, acquires a completely different value.” Ten years after the launch of the Artists’ Residencies programme, this retrospective exhibition allows us to absorb the abundance of creativity that has been generated through this initiative by the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès. At the Magasins Généraux in Pantin, some thirty-five works will be exhibited in a selection that highlights their shared references and resonances to offer a comprehensive vision of a decade of creation.
The international chapters of this exhibition triptych offer two further perspectives on the Artists’ Residencies. At the Forum in Tokyo (Japan), Reiko Setsuda, the curator of the place, invites three artists (Atsunobu Kohira, Enzo Mianes and Chloé Quenum) and their respective mentors (Giuseppe Penone, Michel Blazy and Isabelle Cornaro) to set their works in dialogue with one another in order to convey – albeit subtly – the complicity forged between each of these pairings during their residencies. Finally, in Seoul (Korea), the artistic director of the Atelier Hermès, Soyeon Ahn, brings together seven artists (Anastasia Douka, Sébastien Gouju, Vassilis Salpistis, Lucie Picandet, Io Burgard, Yuhsin U Change and Bérengère Hénin) who have all engaged with the skills of working leather, showing the diversity of artistic projects that have emerged from artists’ encounters with this unique material. Pantin, Tokyo and Seoul: three complementary perspectives on these “Forms of transference”, invite a global audience to discover, celebrate and share ten years of inimitable creativity.