• 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. Main

    Artist Larry van Pelt wants to spread the word that “Jesus in life makes a difference.” Already a keen artist, Florida-based Larry decided to use his creative skills to spread the message, and began drawing Jesus in a number of different working environments. His collection involves a huge range of work scenarios, including a truck driver, a secretary, a carpet layer, a bodybuilder and a french horn player.

  2. List

    We’ve long admired the work of Californian set designer and art director Adi Goodrich. A veritable mistress of creating the sort of strange, cartoon-like scenes that pop with colour and ideas, she’s worked with big-name clients like Michel Gondry and Wieden+Kennedy, but she recently got in touch about an intriguing solo exhibition at The Standard hotel in Hollywood, entitled Like Thiiiiis. The show takes the form of an installation in a glass box behind the hotel’s reception desk, and features a number of images that look to show what it means to be a young creative at the start of your career.

  3. Main

    In a beautiful profile in The Guardian recently, journalist Tim Lewis travelled out to the Hollywood hills to peek behind the gates of Hockney’s jungle-like home to get a glimpse of what the now 77-year-old artist is up to. As it happened, he had been very busy indeed: making a whole bunch of new paintings that are, in classic Hockney-style, moving in a totally different direction from his previous work.

  4. List

    Remember Kim Keever? Back in the summer of 2013, the New York based artist wowed us with his amazing landscapes created in 200-gallon tanks of water and what’s more, he let us in on his process with some fascinating set-up shots. Now, like many a painter before him, Kim has moved from landscapes to more abstract creations albeit within the context of his sculptural practice.

  5. List

    This project by artist Erica Allen is an oldie but such a goodie. Way back in 2008 California-born, Brooklyn-based Erica decided to merge a collection of faces from found barbershop posters with discarded shots of studio backdrops, creating a series of oddly alluring fictional portraits. Removed from their original context, the freshly-trimmed gents pictured come across as utterly anonymous and strangely distant, connected to one another only by a crisp shape-up and a gaze fixed somewhere in the distance. And if that rainbow backdrop didn’t inspire the album artwork for Drake’s Nothing Was the Same then I don’t know what did.

  6. List

    Edmund Clark is one of the most interesting artists working today, exploring what is arguably the defining issue of the past 13 years. He’s interested in the wars waged by the USA and UK in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the fall-out from this foreign policy and how it impacts on us here at home. His new book The Mountains of Majeed continues this theme, as it’s a reflection on “the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan through photography, found imagery and Taliban poetry.”

  7. List

    The secluded French port of Le Havre is a very particular place. Closed off by barriers, it is staffed solely by men, and jobs there are strictly only passed on from father to son. All of which made it the perfect backdrop for artist JR’s contribution to the Women Are Heroes project, which saw him collaborate with the dockers to create a huge image of a woman’s eyes on a 363-metre long container ship.

  8. List

    The bright, woozy haze of Wojciech Fangor’s psychedelic paintings is mesmerising. It’s even more so having learnt that the Polish artist, who worked during the 1960s, created these Op art masterpieces entirely in isolation, working in Eastern Europe having not seen the similar works being created in America and Europe by the likes of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. As such, while the images feel familiar; there’s also something exotic about them, pulsing with light created using intensely coloured oil paint applied in thin layers. A new show named Colour-Light-Space opens next month at London’s 3 Grafton Street gallery, and will display a number of works by Wojciech from the 1960s and 1970s that demonstrate his mastery of all three words in the title. It’s fascinating to think of the artist working on these beautiful optical illusions and explorations of the power of painting well before similar works were created elsewhere in the world, and it’s great to have his work celebrated in the way it deserves.

  9. List

    Mark Lazenby is the go-to guy for collage that just works. We last featured the artist two years ago and since then his portfolio of pieced together artworks has exploded with even more impressive works and a real exploration of materials and collage techniques.

  10. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  11. List

    I’m known for my sweet tooth and ability to consume an obscene amount of cakes, sweets and biscuits in one sitting, so it’ll come as no surprise that I was instantly drawn to Will Cotton’s sugary scenes of candy-laced lands.

  12. List

    Time and again Amy Woodside gets in touch to let us know about new projects she’s cooked up and time and again we’re powerless to resist them. The New York-based artist is focussed to a fault on her fine art practice where iconic letterforms emerge from meticulously registered screen printing and frantic flourishes of spray paint. Where first she caught our eye with multicoloured wordplay, the constant reduction and refinement of her process has resulted in a new series’ of totemic words like ‘Hero’, ‘Cash’, ‘Hoax’ and ‘Like’, pre-loaded with cultural context and double meaning, writ large on the canvas. What’s the meaning behind them? The interpretation is up to you, but Amy always seems to be critiquing pop culture with its own visual vernacular and playing fast and loose with our ambiguous use of language.

  13. List

    The Dutch/Brazilian artist Rafaël Rozendaal is best known for his digital artworks that often take the form of webpages but as he told us at our 2013 creative symposium Here he is increasingly interested in exploring his fascination with light and colour in real-world scenarios. Most recently this has taken the form of his hyper-colourful abstract lenticular paintings, which are made up of layers of different frames and so appear to move when viewed from different angles.