Presented in several locations, the exhibition “Les Mains sans sommeil” brings together nine artists who completed residencies in Hermès workshops between 2014 and 2017: Bianca Argimon, Jennifer Vinegar Avery, Clarissa Baumann, Lucia Bru, Io Burgard, Anastasia Douka, Célia Gondol, DH McNabb and Lucie Picandet. Each of these nine artists was mentored by a seasoned artist during their residency: Jean-Michel Alberola, Ann Veronica Janssens or Richard Fishman. These three mentors thus accompanied three artists each during this second three-year series of Artists’ Residencies by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.
Over several months of residency in the Hermès workshops, the artists enjoyed carte blanche to experiment and develop their projects. Sometimes encountering materials for the first time, the artists are helped by the workshops’ craftspeople to produce works in two editions: one remains their own, while the other is conserved by the Foundation.
At the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the exhibition’s curator Gaël Charbau chose to present the works created in the workshops alongside other works by the same artists. “Les Mains sans sommeil” is dedicated to the gestures that Gaël Charbau observed first-hand in the exchanges between artists and artisans. Not only gestures that express the workings of the mind, but also those where the hand takes on its own autonomy. This freedom is expressed in all the works produced, from a stretched silver spoon (Clarissa Baumann) to figures that dance across almost forty metres of silk or which play upon its transparencies (Célia Gondol, Bianca Argimon), which capture a motif or pour cement into crystal (DH McNabb, Lucia Bru). Further gestures deconstruct leather accessories or create imaginary tools for working the material (Io Burgard, Anastasia Douka), assemble textile offcuts into a fabulous menagerie, and draw out symbols from the textured surfaces of leather. With some of the artists’ practices extending over several disciplines, performances are also part of the exhibition.
In 2018 and 2019, “Les Mains sans sommeil” is hosted by the Forum, the Foundation’s Tokyo exhibition space. For this new edition, Gaël Chabau is joined by Reiko Setsuda, head curator of the Forum, to oversee two further stages and a programme of performances.
In 2013, the Foundation presented a first exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, also curated by Gaël Charbaud and entitled “Condensation”. The exhibition brought together works produced by the sixteen artists who participated in the Foundation’s first three-year residency series, and was later presented at two of the Foundation’s other exhibition spaces: the Forum in Tokyo and Atelier Hermès in Seoul.