Architecture | March 28, 2024 |

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Image courtesy of Fondation Cartier

Breath of an Architect exhibition by Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
Bijoy Jain / Studio Mumbai
December 09, 2023 – April 21, 2024

From December 09, 2023, to April 21, 2024, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents Breath of an Architect, an exhibition specially created for the institution by architect Bijoy Jain, founder of Studio Mumbai in India. Bijoy Jain’s work reflects a deep concern for the relationship between man and nature, in which time and gesture are essential factors. Exploring the links between art, architecture, and material, Bijoy Jain offers the Fondation Cartier a space of reverie and contemplation in dialogue with Jean Nouvel’s iconic building.

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Image courtesy of Fondation Cartier

Bijoy Jain has imagined the exhibition as a physical and emotional experience. Breath of an Architect is an invitation to breathe, to wander in quietude and rediscover silence: “Silence has a sound, we hear its resonance in ourselves. This sound connects all living beings, it is the breath of life. It is synchronous in all of us. Silence, time and space are eternal, as are water, air and light our elemental construct. This abundance of sensory phenomena, dreams, memory, imagination, emotions, and intuition stems from this pool of experiences, embedded in the corners of our eyes, in the soles of our feet, in the lobes of our ears, in the timbre of our voices, in the whisper of our breath and in the palm of our hand.”

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Image courtesy of Fondation Cartier

Convening light and shadow, lightness and gravity, wood, brick, earth, stone, and water, the architect composes a sensory experience, in resonance with the materials. Crafted in rhythm with the breath and shaped by hand, the exhibition’s installation is composed of architectural fragments. Stone and terracotta sculptures, facades of traditional Indian dwellings, rendered panels, lines of pigment drawn with thread, bamboo structures inspired by tazias-funerary monuments carried on the shoulders in memory of a Saint during Shiite Muslim processions-these transitory, ephemeral structures present a world that is both infinite and intimate, and carry us to places both near and far.

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Image courtesy of Fondation Cartier

On a suggestion from Hervé Chandès, general exhibition curator, Bijoy Jain has also invited a Chinese painter living in Beijing Hu Liu and a Turkish-born Danish ceramist living in Paris Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye to join him in creating the exhibition. All three give the same importance to the ritual mastery of gesture, to resonance, and dialogue with material; they share the same ethos and sensibility.

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Image courtesy of Fondation Cartier

Hu Liu’s monochrome black drawings are created using graphite, repeating iterations of the same movement to reveal the essence of natural elements: grass caressed by the wind, the rolling of the waves, or the silhouette of tree branches, conveying a timeless solemnity. Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye’s ceramics are also the culmination of great skill and dexterity, as well as an intense dialogue with the clay, and weightlessness in the experience of her work.

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Image courtesy of Fondation Cartier

For Bijoy Jain, the physical world we inhabit is a palimpsest of our cultural evolution. Humanity moves through a landscape in constant evolution, one whose successive writings are intertwined. In Breath of an Architect, we are offered a glimpse, however fleeting, of architecture’s sensorial emanations, the intuitive forces that bind us to the elements and our emotional relationship with space.


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Image courtesy of Fondation Cartier

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