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François Azambourg experiments at Christie’s

For ten days, Christie’s presents in its Parisian salons the Experiments by François Azambourg, in partnership with the International Center for Glass Art (CIAV) in Meisenthal. An association that has been going on for thirteen years, giving birth to the vase Douglas , and today at Twigs et al’ Untouchable .

It all started in 2006, when Jean-Pierre Blanc, then director of Villa Noailles in Hyères, called on François Azambourg. The latter’s mission is to think about the redevelopment of a room in the house, which must include one object in particular: a glass vase. However little attracted by this material, the designer understands that “ its transparency is interesting. »The machine is started. For a week, he worked closely with the craftsmen of the CIAV on the decoration of the glass, rather than the very texture of the material. Very quickly, they realize that the key is in the blowing. There are three forms. The free soufflé, fixes it with a metal mold and rotates it. François Azambourg then offers a fourth: the soufflé fixed in a wooden matrix. “ The glass is blown for one minute, at 800 ° C He explains, and comes out printed with the ribs, knots and crevices of Douglas fir. Thus was born the eponymous vase, the first creation of François Azambourg and the CIAV.

“P take a snapshot of this movement by freezing it . “

Today this collaboration is not limited to Douglas . On one of the wooden tables of the Christie’s house, several dozen vases coexist. Because for ten years, the designer and the Lorraine glass artisans have thought of new creations, variations of the original vase. The reflection was first oriented on the movement of the glass, and on the way of “ take a snapshot of this movement by freezing it . Hot, it was taken out of its mold prematurely: not too early for the essence of the wood to imprint on the walls of the vase, but soon enough for the glassmaker to stretch and manipulate it as he pleased, giving it this feeling of movement.

Vases Brindilles par François Azambourg ©Guy Rebmeister

In the adjoining room, the walls are adorned with paintings representing flowers or plants. Drawings which are sketches, made by François Azambourg himself, and which echo the creations placed in the center of the room.

With Twigs , the designer places nature and the notion of territory at the heart of the reflection: each vase varies according to the season and the place of collection. ” Usually, the decoration of the vases is done cold, but the glass is more fragile. It is more interesting to work the material when it is hot “, Considers the French designer. The plants and branches are pressed against the walls of the mold, in which the glass is blown. The absence of air allows the plant not to burn and to leave its mark along the vase. Sometimes the creation process has been altered by calendering concerns. “ The plant is partially printed on the rim of the vase, which distorts it , explains François Azambourg, it is an accident that opens the question of what can be done or not in terms of creation, a new territory of play . ”

Then comes Untouchables .

This creation which closes the exhibition illustrates the fact “ that there is no failure in creation For the designer. “ There is a part of randomness with the glass, if it is not good we break it. »The glass is blown, then it is allowed to cool. Secondly, it is reheated in an oven before being rolled onto a perforated sheet on which the chips from previous experiments are placed.
In total, three rooms in the building at 9 avenue Montaigne are devoted to the work of François Azambourg and the CIAV. Far from the scenography, the French designer prefers to speak of “filiation”. ” Each of the pieces presented brings something to the one around. On the walls, the preparatory drawings show the search for patterns. »

Beyond artistic creativity, there is a scientific approach in the work of the designer. The sketches serve as protocols for reproducing the endless vases. He is aware of the duality that exists between artistic composition and profitability: “ today we need objects that are easy to reproduce “.
However, experimentation remains the main characteristic in François Azambourg’s thinking. According to him, “l production is like a snapshot of an object at the crossroads between the moment we think about it and the moment we realize it “. A final result which, in the case of glass, often surprises the craftsman and the designer.

“Experiments” – François Azambourg x CIAV / Meisenthal
Christie’s in Paris – February 24 to March 4, 2020

Rémi de Marassé