• Bb5

    The Bouroullec brothers (pic by Ola Rindal)

  • Bb3

    Textile Field (Studio Bouroullec & V&A Images)

  • Bb4

    Textile Field (Studio Bouroullec & V&A Images)

  • Bb7

    Textile Field (Studio Bouroullec & V&A Images)

  • Bb8

    Textile Field (Studio Bouroullec & V&A Images)

  • Bb6

    Textile Field (Studio Bouroullec & V&A Images)

Art

Erwan Bouroullec

Posted by Rob Alderson,

To round off our week of interviews, we were lucky enough to speak to Erwan Bouroullec, who with his brother Ronan has been responsible for the most talked about installation at this year’s London Design Festival – the simply superb Textile Field at The V&A.

There’s a moment at any major event which sticks in your mind, that becomes a totemic memory of all that is exciting, and special and important about it. For me that came last Saturday afternoon at The V&A on the Bouroullec brothers’ Textile Field a 240 square metre canvas platform built smack bang in the middle of the 150-year-old Raphael Gallery. Children scampered, tourists beamed, art lovers stretched back and drank in the sublime Raphael cartoons and a young couple next to us took the unlikely opportunity to get up and close and, ahem, very personal in a museum.

The men behind my moment, Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec, had pulled off the seemingly impossible, installing a piece that was a joy in its own right while at the same time enhancing the great work it sat next to, or rather enhancing the experience of the visitors enjoying that great work.

“We found it quite difficult to find a reason for design to be in front of such masterpieces,” Erwan said from their Paris studio yesterday. “We definitely didn’t want several pieces of design, we wanted one really singular idea.

“It was quite an issue to make the piece familiar enough so that people feel quite at ease playing with it, but not making it too familiar – we wanted to avoid it becoming silly. But it was really important that it did not look too much like a piece of art but rather an open platform.”

Offered their choice of any room in the grand old museum, the Bouroullecs wanted space enough to explore the question of how people behave and interact in that environment. They wanted to encourage contemporary behaviour in the space so that people enjoyed the cartoons on their own terms, unable as we are to travel back in time and appreciate them how Raphael intended, reverend hush or no reverend hush.

The idea of being comfortable, of lying down, toys with the idea of museums and their culture, liberating the whole process of enjoying art.

“I am really, really pleased with it – we have seen some really nice behaviour. One of the best things is how social the platform has been, it has brought people together. There is no sense of private property –’I am here you should not be there.’

“It’s not like an airport where you see people looking round for their own bench and putting down their bag next to them so nobody else can sit down. It acts not like a piece of furniture but like a wide green park.”

www.bouroullec.com
www.londondesignfestival.com

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List-2

    Anna Valdez is the kind of artist who makes me want to swathe myself and everything around me in layers of tropical prints and geometric patterns and embrace a new sartorial existence as a wannabe art teacher. Her mastery of textiles is so thorough that some of her pieces almost feel like studies, an effect which makes sense considering her academic interests. With a background in anthropology she paints domestic interiors as though they were portraits, with every detail contributing to the overall effect, whether it be house plants, intricately reproduced book covers, woolly jumpers or oriental rugs.

  2. List

    Australian artist Kit Webster is has long been fascinated with the emotional and psychological tricks he can play through the manipulation of sound and light. His new piece Hypercube is a concentric cubic sculpture with a 120-metre LED set-up that can be controlled using specially-created software. The pre-recorded cycles allow Kit to control the viewer’s experience, speeding the cube up to a frenzy and breaking the tension with meditative moments of calm.

  3. Main

    Apologies if this is a slightly dismayed post, but upon thinking I had stumbled across a gem via Nieves’ announcement of some new zines I was excited to be the first to write about Keegan McHargue on It’s Nice That. Alas I was not, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t shout about his brilliance once more.

  4. List

    When I was a teenager I’d have given my right arm for patches emblazoned with the lyrics of my favourite songs. It was the height of cool to be covered in brightly-coloured band paraphernalia (or at least I thought so). German artist Selma Alaçam clearly thought so too as her latest project Heartstrings combines some of her favourite song lyrics from the likes of Fiona Apple and Depeche Mode. The seven woven rugs – based on the traditional kelim, native to Turkey – have been hand-embroidered with bold typographic verses, whose personal importance is known only to the artist. To the rest of us these embroideries are like beautifully ambiguous album covers, enticing you in with their bright, bold colours.

  5. List

    It’s plain to see that Lee Marshall’s artwork is a product of the digital age; his smooth gradients, vectorised objects and figures apparently created in an early version of Corel Draw all evoke the atmosphere of an abstract digital landscape. But Lee’s creations all exist in the real world as paintings, drawings and sculptures, bringing a unique physicality to environments we’d expect to experience on a flat screen. The Norwich School of Art graduate has been perfecting this signature style since his student days, but with an ever-increasing list of group and solo shows to his name we’re expecting more great things from Lee over the coming months and years.

  6. List

    Let’s all give a big round of applause to the people behind Instagram who, in creating a convenient photo-based social media outlet, also paved the way for Instagram artists. If Instagram is the Impressionist salon of our time, then right at the forefront of this digital gallery is Kalen Hollomon, whose own brand of photo-collage is a tongue-in-cheek giggle at both the fashion industry and at commuters in general, and is hugely popular with it.

  7. List

    It’s fair to say that Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, had some serious sway over popular culture throughout the 1970s and 80s. With its pop art-driven aesthetic and its constant pursuit of features with the superstars of the day it has grown to occupy seminal status. And this is due in no small part to Richard Bernstein, the artist behind the publication’s iconic cover imagery.

  8. List

    Imagine going to a party with a bunch of your favourite creatives and each picking up a paintbrush, a pot of ink, and creating the drawing equivalent of a huge, diverse orgy on a very long piece of paper. I’m sure for some people that kind of malarkey is the norm, but for most of us, we need the help of an organising body in making experimental ideas and collaborative practice come to life. Enter Sumi Ink Club, the participatory drawing project we first wrote about three years ago which was founded in 2005 by LA-based artists Sarah Rara (I know, right) and Luke Fishbeck. For 13 years now they’ve been the source behind a string of public meeting planned by anybody, anytime, which seek to mirror open social interactions with the act of putting paintbrush to paper.

  9. List

    It’s 100 years since Britain entered the First World War and to mark the centenary, the Tower of London is being surrounded by nearly 900,00 ceramic poppies. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the brainchild of artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper and will grow between now and November when there will be 888,246 flowers in the dry moat, one for every British or British Colony soldier killed during the fighting.

  10. Main7

    There was a time when we at It’s Nice That were inundated with internet art – we were having so much submitted to us on a daily basis that it was pouring out of our ears in waxy gifs. It’s pleasing to be faced with it again, a year or two after the craze has kind of died out, when it’s created by someone who actually has a passion and an eye for this stuff and isn’t just jumping on a weird bandwagon.

  11. List

    It feels like Max and Adele at Atelier bingo lead a pretty charmed life. Camped out in the middle of the countryside with their converted studio/barn, it would be easy to resent the life they lead – in fact sometimes it’s very easy indeed. But the work they’re producing – stunning screen prints and collages of abstract forms – keeps me returning to their website time after time, and I just can’t find it in my heart to resent their rural idyll. Though if they called me up tomorrow to invite me to come and live with them, I’d definitely have a hard time saying no.

  12. List

    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

  13. List

    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.