Jean-Michel Othoniel

Year of Birth: 1964

Jean-Michel Othoniel (French, b.1964) is a contemporary artist currently lives and works in Paris. Since the end of the 1980s, Jean-Michel Othoniel has been inventing a world that ranges from drawing to sculpture, from installation to photography, from writing to performance. He first explored materials with reversible qualities such as sulfur and wax, and has been working in glass since 1993. Jean-Michel Othoniel’s enchanting aesthetics revolves around the notion of emotional geometry. Using the repetition of modular elements such as bricks or his signature beads, which are his most recurring motif, he creates exquisite jewelry-like sculptures whose relationship to human scale ranges from intimacy to monumentality. His predilection for materials with reversible and often reflective properties – particularly blown glass that has been the hallmark of his practice since the early 1990s – relates to the deeply equivocal nature of his art. While his dedication to site-specific commissions for public spaces has led some of his work to take an almost architectural turn, Jean-Michel Othoniel’s holistic sensibility further compares to feng shui or the art of harmonizing people with their environment, in his case allowing viewers to inhabit his world through reflection and motion. Othoniel is frequently called upon by contemporary architects, including Peter Marino and Jean Nouvel, to create site-specific artworks at historical sites.

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