Fondation Cartier

Cartier, Jeweler of the Arts

03 - 22 Apr 2012

3 - 22 April, 2012

From April 3-22, 2012, the Fondation Cartier will host Cartier, Jeweler of the Arts, an exceptional presentation of four unique artworks commissioned by Cartier since 2009. United for the first time for this special occasion, the works were created from Cartier’s collection of precious and semi-precious stones. These gems – pearls, engraved emeralds, sapphires, mandarin garnets, moonstones, diamond paving, chalcedonies – have been given a second life by four leading contemporary figures who have a longstanding history with the Fondation Cartier: Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano, American filmmaker and artist David Lynch, Italian designer and architect Alessandro Mendini, and Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes.

Teaming up with Cartier designers and technicians at the Ateliers Cartier, these artists experienced something akin to an artist’s residence in creating these unusual pieces, where they were able to apply Cartier’s expertise to their artistic vision. With specific designs in mind, the artists carefully selected the gems, materials, and techniques that best-suited their objects, beginning a long collaborative process towards the fabrication of these complex creations.

Takeshi Kitano imagined a Nécessaire Gosse de peintre (2010), a suitcase that combines all the indispensable accessories a “perfect painter” needs to create a masterpiece in any location: brushes, a palette, a cup, an easel, a beret, pencils, and even an inflatable muse.

David Lynch was interested in integrating Cartier’s jewels into an everyday object close to his heart: a lamp. This luminous work, entitled Jeweled Triangle (2009), creates a decidedly “Lynchian” atmosphere: three colored gems in motion – citrine, amethyst, and green beryl – dance over a smooth white metal surface when lit.

Alessandro Mendini was inspired to create the Cartier Column (2009): this exceptional “endless column” produces a magical play on radiance and reflections, whilst remaining true to the principles of Greco-Roman architecture. Standing 2.30 m high, weighing 400 kg and containing 24 kg of gold; it required over 18 months of work, from the preliminary sketches to the final creation.

Beatriz Milhazes imagined and designed Aquarium, a mobile elaborately decorated with Cartier jewels. A monumental piece composed of 15 strands, it is reminiscent of the rosettes, floral and abstract ornaments, geometric forms, rhythmic motifs and arabesques found in her paintings and collages.

In an exhibition design conceived by David Lynch especially for Cartier, Jeweler of the Arts, these pieces are shown together here for the first time. Within a large dome enclosed in the large gallery on the ground floor of Jean Nouvel’s glass building, the Cartier Column confronts the Jeweled Triangle and the Nécessaire Gosse de peintre in a theatrical interplay of moving image, sound, and light. Each object is given its own environment – the column an illuminating pedestal, the lamp an intimate niche, and the suitcase a bright rotating platform – in the company of three short films and a soundtrack by David Lynch that set the stage for the entire exhibition. The soundtrack continues in the small gallery, where Aquarium is hung in a setting that recalls an eye made up with deep purple eye shadow.

Tags: David Lynch, Alessandro Mendini, Beatriz Milhazes