Jean-Michel Othoniel: Wild Rosebuds Is a Garden of Glass
Legendary French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel is presenting two series of work at Perrotin Gallery in New York this month. Showcasing colorful mirrored glass sculptures and gritty paintings on gold leaf, Wild Rosebuds is a must see.
The exhibition includes works from both the “Kiku” and “Rose” series. The glass sculptures are inspired by the “Kiku” – the Japanese word for the chrysanthemum flower. Made from individual blown glass spheres threaded on an unseen metal support, each abstracted flower feels like it might float into the air at any moment. The top-down color gradients (each sphere is a slightly different intensity of color) and mirrored glass lend a surprising weightless quality. Looping strands of saturated oranges and greens are reflected into other orbs within the same work, often recalling DNA strands and providing a greater illusion of infinity.
All the works are part of Othoniel’s larger “infinite knots” series – inspired by a mathematical theory called wild knot theory used to calculate the infinities of reflections contained within one sphere of mirrors.
Even the titles of the works are a treat, as Jean-Michel has named the works for their very specific color associations. For example, “Kiku – Moegiiro (Fresh onion color)” perfectly captures the freshness of the green hue, while “Kiku – Akakōiro (Red incense color)” recalls a specific scent, and “Kiku – Ayameiro (Iris color)” reveals that this particular chrysanthemum has taken on the color of an iris.
The largest sculpture in the exhibition takes inspiration from a rose bud. Greeting visitors at the entrance, “Gold Rose” is made from mirror-polished stainless steel and stands 39-inches tall.
Beyond the sculptures, intense black and red paintings shimmer on backgrounds of gold leaf. Referencing a blooming rose, the “Bouton Rose” works that hang around the room recall a multitude of imagery – from the flower itself, to distant galaxies, to black fireworks. Created with a thick black or red ink on white or green gold leaf, these practically glow in real life, playing and shifting in the light as you approach.
“Wild Rosebuds” is an exceptionally beautiful exhibition that explores a complex fusion of imagery and ideas. View more images of the work on the exhibition website. The gallery is open Monday-Friday through August 13th.
All photos by Claire Dorn, Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin © Jean-Michel Othoniel / ADAGP, Paris & ARS, New York, 2021