In a collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, The Brooklyn Museum is currently showing a large-scale retrospective of the work of French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, whose colorful glassworks and sculptures stand between tangible reality and a reconstituted dream world. Entitled “My Way,” the show provides an in-depth look at Othoniel’s 25 year career.
Drawing from conceptions of the body, fantasy, psychology, emotion and personal myth, Othoniel’s work draws on several schools of thought. In some works, the artist adorns the everyday with his signature glass bulbs, which are colorful dyed orbs that bring his subjects into the realm of the surreal. In others, he uses the same form to create long strings of color, recalling the knots used by Jacques Lacan to illustrate the complexities of the human psyche.
Throughout these works, the essence of the materialism of glass is consistently referenced in the treatment of the subject matter. In Tears, the glass containers harboring the artist’s tears further underscores the fragile sensibility of human emotion, as do the glass adornments on his other works. Combining the surreal with the delicate, Othoniel’s work provides a striking insight into the nature of perception and emotion, and its ability to shape an object in both tangible and elusive ways.
In correlation with this show, L&M Gallery in Manhattan is also currently exhibiting a selection of nine new works by Othoniel, including a site-specific titled Gigantic Necklace, which descends down the spiral staircase in the gallery’s main room. Further exploring the long strands of glass beads used in many of Othoniel’s past works, the new works show an interest in space and form as the artist winds his strands of glass in new directions.