The Contemporary Art Foundation held the exhibition “the CONSTRUCTOR Jean Prouvé” from 22nd to 24th October, 2016 at the French Embassy Ambassador’s Residence in Tokyo. With the great support of Catherine Prouvé, the exhibition presented the works of Jean Prouvé, centering on pieces from the collections of Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of the Contemporary Art Foundation. With the cooperation of the Galerie Patrick Seguin in Paris, the presentation featured approximately 80 furniture works, in addition to the “F 8x8 BCC demountable house” along with its reference materials of drawings made during the design process and architectural photographs.。
Curated by Galerie Patrick Seguin
Jean Prouvé is a designer / architect who received high acclaim from the artistic virtuosos of his time including Le Corbusier, and his legacy and oeuvre served to influence the work of postwar artists such as Norman Foster and Renzo Piano. Born in Nancy in the North of France in 1901 as the son of Victor Prouvé who led the Art Nouveau “École de Nancy,” Jean Prouvé had spent his early years apprenticed to a blacksmith before pursuing an independent career. At the age of 30, he opened his workshop, “Ateliers Jean Prouvé,” and eventually proceeded to expand his field of practice from the realm of furniture design to architectural design. Jean Prouvé's workshop had encouraged industrialization and in no time found itself developing into a substantial factory with over 300 workers, promoting a mode of practice that constantly engaged with the manufacturing premise –not only placing emphasis on design, but also on the process of both production and construction. His attitude as such can be discerned through his words as he states, “I am not an architect nor an engineer, for I am a factory worker” as well as the manner in which he describes himself as a “Constructor.” Jean Prouvé's works are indeed industrial products in the very sense of their existence, yet at the same time are significantly characterized by the way they permeate with an ai r of warmth that is acquired through proficient craftsmanship.
Photos by Kaori Nishida & Kikuko Usuyama
Films by Ryuichi Maruo