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The disturbing beauty of objects at the Espace Muraille in Geneva

For the first time at Espace Muraille in Geneva, the exhibition ” Important Nothings by Lignereux” presents very precious current objects, inspired by the dormant know-how of a great 18th century French merchant-mercer, Martin- Eloy Lignereux. Between historical and current know-how, an elegant conversation is created, implicitly evoking the question of the object and its relevance over time.

Created by collectors and patrons Caroline and Eric Freymond, the Muraille space is a renowned place for exhibitions dedicated to great artists and designers, such as, among others, Tomàs Saraceno in 2015, Sheila Hicks in 2016, Olafur Eliasson in 2018 , Michal Rovner in 2019 and Arik Levy in 2020. In 2022, artistic director Caroline Freymond invited Gonzague Mézin, creator of rare objects who, since 2016, has been working with many craftsmen to reawaken the Lignereux brand, created in 1781 but dormant for two centuries. In the heart of the old town, he imagines a dialogue between twenty-four precious contemporary objects and pieces from the 18th century, belonging to a large private Geneva collection.

Voices © M.-H.Buisset, Espace Muraille - Lignereux exhibition
Important Nothings by Lignereux exhibition, 2021 © Espace Muraille, Luca Fascini

The Three Fates, Between Life and Death


However, far from offering an exhibition of inert objects revisiting ancient know-how, Gonzague Mézin has built a scenario nourished by his fantasies and the myth of the three Greek Fates Clotho, Lachésis and Atropos, spinning and scrolling the stages of human destiny. . ” Important Nothings is an expression borrowed from Jane Austen who, in 1808, wrote to her sister: “ Which of my little nothings of importance should I tell you first? ” VShe “nothing matters” for me are those moments when life tips over towards light or towards night. »

Consent © Max Saber Darwinmedia, Espace Muraille - Lignereux exhibition

The first room refers to Clotho, the youngest of the Fates making the thread of life, through extravagant pieces such as Fluke , a luminous spinning wheel projecting its golden scissors, around which Ourobos, the serpent biting its own tail, coils. . Or Chrysalis I and II , glass cocoons with captivating light, where butterflies from another time come to cluster together, created by the glass blower Xavier Lenormand, the luminophile Thierry Toutin, and the gilding and burnishing workshop on Silv’Or metals. On the stairs leading to the basement, Folly is a 2022 version vanity. Suspended from a cord cut by the Fates, a deformed, cracked skull, partially gilded with fire radiates from its arrows. Finally, among other works, those in the room dedicated to Atropos, the darkest of divinities, are worth a detour. Thirst evokes a wheel – that of desire – in blue-tinted straw marquetry, illuminated from the inside, and carried by three ostriches reminiscent of those in François-Xavier Lalanne’s ostrich bar. Both delicate and violent, Mighty Fountain is a spectacular installation in porcelain with a Chun celadon glaze and fire-gilded bronze, cords and brass threads. There, waterfalls drawing terrifying faces, where a drop of water is transformed into a rifle bullet with visible impacts, splendid porcelain barrels arise.

Important Nothings by Lignereux exhibition, 2021 © Espace Muraille, Luca Fascini

Throughout this presentation with surprise effects, punctuated, in each chapter, by a perfume created by Parfums Henry Jacques whose juices are inspired by the objects of the collective and dedicated to each Parque, these objects steeped in references are placed next to each other. old objects. Mounted vases from the 18th century are presented in a rococo surge of inverted shapes and colours, very close to the ground, or even in a “pile” of potpourri from the Louis XVI period. In the basement, a portico clock from the Directoire period and a “flying table” from 1790, by the merchant-mercer Lignereux also dialogue with the contemporary works.

Doom © Camille Gentil, Espace Muraille - Lignereux exhibition

Joyful and disturbing in its words, the visual and olfactory exhibition is a complex and breathtaking journey to the land of the dark and the marvellous. An invitation to reflect on our current world, through the question of the finitude of our objects in what they have of the most precious but also of the most disturbing and useless.

Virginie Chuimer-Layen

Place des Casemates 5, CP 3166 / 1211 Geneva 3 / Information on: Exhibition until May 7, 2022.