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Révélations 2023 confirms the dynamism of the arts and crafts sector

In 2023, the Sixth Biennial of Crafts and Contemporary Creation celebrated its tenth anniversary by celebrating the creativity of Quebec, the country in the spotlight.

The Grand Palais Ephémère has just closed its doors on the Révélations trade show. This year’s high quality event enabled the public to discover 350 exhibitors, 71% of them newcomers. In designer Adrien Gardère’s always airy scenography, these designers, galleries, factories, regions and associations from 29 countries were selected by the artistic steering committee, made up of eleven players from the industry, the arts, the market and institutions. True to its values, Ateliers d’Art de France, organizer of the event, has renewed its central exhibition “Le Banquet”, highlighted the abundant creativity of a particular country – this year, the province of Quebec – and focused on young talent in the sector.

Revelations 2023, Stand Urkraine @DR
Revelations 2023, Banquet Québec © Alex Gallosi

Le Banquet, the excellence of international know-how

The show’s signature exhibition, the Banquet 2023 presented the cream of creation from ten regions of the world. China, Egypt, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Portugal, the Netherlands, as well as Rwanda, Sweden, Ukraine and Europe engaged in a dialogue of materials and techniques. In ten spaces, 70 artists and manufacturers pushed back forms and frontiers. Among the proposals, a few pieces caught our eye. Some came from the Mobilier National’s “les Aliénés” exhibition, held in 2022, presenting unusual furniture from the Mobilier, revisited by visual artists as daring as they were provocative. On the Banquet, designer Thierry Betancourt, in collaboration with Maison Louis Marie Vincent, has placed La Rêveuse, a Louis XV-style rosewood chest of drawers, covered in a thick white gangue, made in “carton pierre”, an ancestral 17th-century technique brought up to date. The organic forms of this technique seem to annihilate the utilitarian character of the piece. Using flame-inflated copper, Prisca Razafindrakoto transformed the Mullca 510 school chair by legendary designer Gaston Cavaillon. Similarly, at the Banquet Europe, Sweden’s Léonie Burkhardt presented Radiant Pink, a kind of textile vase created from heat-reactive shrink-wrap thread, where no seams are visible, while Blush, a piece by Ireland’s Helen O’Shea, sublimated a plastic bottle thanks to cotton threads and sewing pins. Last but not least, Rwanda shone through in Mannequin, an imposing piece of metal and thread by young visual artist Cedric Mizero.

La Rêveuse" chest of drawers
Created by : Thierry Betancourt and Maison Louis Marie Vincent
The chest of drawers is made from "stone cardboard", an ancestral technique dating back to the 17th century, which has been brought up to date and is harder than papier-mâché. In some places, it is enhanced by parchment, one of Louis Marie Vincent's specialties.

Quebec at the party

Alongside new exhibiting countries such as Armenia, Egypt, Denmark, Lebanon and the French Lesser Antilles island of Saint-Barthélemy, to name but a few, the nation of Quebec was the show’s guest of honor, following Africa in 2022. This country was already present at Banquet 2019,” explains Stéphane Galerneau, newly elected president of Ateliers d’Art de France and the show. Benefiting from the largest cultural budget ever allocated to crafts, our French-speaking cousins carry the colors of creation freed from heritage constraints, and have this willingness to include indigenous peoples.” Supported by the Conseil des métiers d’art, the Maison des métiers d’art de Québec, the Québec government and the Paris delegation, thirty-four artists, including ten First Nations, presented pieces in glass, textiles, metal, stone, paper, wood and ceramics, hybridizing North American and European cultures. Among the many material artists, the Canadian duo Hélène and her husband – ceramist Hélène Chouinart and sculptor Jean-Robert Drouillard – exhibited, not without humor, J’effeuille les parfums de mon enfance, an installation composed of a slew of ceramic cups, accompanied by a wooden figure. A work illustrating the traditional practices of this art of fire, updated by decalcomania-printed motifs. The “Hors les murs” program, dedicated exclusively to fifteen Quebec and Canadian artists in three Parisian venues, also accompanied this abundant selection from La Belle Province, visible on two large in situ stands.

Révélations 2023, Le Banquet Québec - Paula Murray, Inner Landscape © Paula Murray
Révélations 2023, Le Banquet Québec - Paula Murray, Inner Landscape © Paula Murray

On the Agora, the future of the sector

The collective exhibition marking the tenth anniversary of the Prix de la Jeune Création Métiers d’Art, welcomed the public as they entered the Agora. “This year, Révélations wanted to showcase all the prizewinners unearthed in France over the past decade,” adds Stéphane Galerneau. Winner 2023 with glass artist Tiphaine Germaneau, ceramist Cécile Fouillade alias Siquou presented some new Fur Vases reproducing animal fur in ceramic, inspired by her latest artistic residency in Greenland. Among others, embroiderer Clémentine Brandidas, 2018 winner, exhibited Shanshui, feather marquetry on tinted silk, while the astonishing Kaa necklace, in copper and silver plating, was the award-winning work created in 2016 by contemporary jewelry artist Marine Dominiczak.

A springboard for young people and a key economic player for an entire industry, the show has built up a unique DNA over the years. This year, this particular identity was also expressed through Columbidae, a delicate paper work by Japanese sculptor Kuniko Maeda, combining digital technology and Japanese arts and crafts. We wanted to highlight the diversity of our crafts,” continues Stéphane Galerneau, “and introduce the public to rarer trades.”

Three design favourites

If the president of Ateliers d’Art de France and of the show asserted that “the biennial is this niche of excellence that does not drift towards art or design”, would this new edition prove him wrong? Here are just a few examples, among many others, to support the idea of porous borders and the filiation between creators and designers.

Magdeleine, Slacken chair ©Magdeleine-min

Tiffanie Baso/ Magdeleine, Slacken

Founder, in 2019, from Occitanie of the Magdeleine brand, Tiffanie Baso is a young wood artisan-designer full of promise. Created in 2021, her Slacken armchair in ash and elm was made using the bending technique. Bending twists the wood,” she explains. An accumulation of blades is needed to make our final shape. Once we’ve carefully selected and organized our slats, we place them in a steam oven, a key element in bending wood. It warms and relaxes the wood fiber, so that it can be easily shaped around a template to create a specific shape, and achieve optimal curves.”

Mangrove , dessiné par Seraphyn Luce Danet, réalisé par par le ciseleur Mapie Belgary et le fondeur Yannec Tomada.
Guéridon en bronze poli sur sa face intérieure, ciselé et laqué sur sa face extérieure.
Dimensions : 42 cm de diamètre et 60 cm de hauteur.
@Alain CORNU

Seraphyn’, Gracile and Mangrove

Designed by Seraphyn creator Luce Danet, the Gracile chair created in 2023 was executed by the Falher joinery workshop. Using a technique patented by Frenchman Claude Barlier, with no visible assemblies, it is broken down into a series of digital strata cut from sheet materials, then compiled to reconstitute the final piece. As for his Mangrove pedestal table, in polished and gilded bronze, executed by chaser Mapie Belgary and foundryman Yannec Tomada, its organic, asymmetrical form is inspired by the root vegetation that develops in the marshes of tropical coastlines, a breeding ground for biodiversity.

Mobilier national Cité de la céramique-Sèvres & Limoges stand @DR

Mobilier National and Cité de la céramique – Sèvres & Limoges

For the first time, the Cité de la Céramique-Sèvres & Limoges and the Mobilier National shared a stand. Thanks to scenographer Mathilde Bretillot, five “tableaux” offered viewpoints on the creation, combining numerous pieces. These included tapestries by Jean Messager, Geneviève Asse and Cécile Bart, an armchair by Francesco Binfare, a bench by Studio Mr. & Mr, pedestal tables by Eric Schmitt and several vases by leading designers.

Over the past ten years, Révélations has asserted its position of excellence in favor of craftsmanship and creation. Increasingly uninhibited by new technologies, yet respectful of tradition and the environment, these professions make this show a unique example of their kind.