La Grande Place, Musée du cristal Saint-Louis
Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche, France
Until 18 June 2018
Produced by Fondation d’entreprise Hermès

Gaëlle Hippolyte and Lina Hentgen have worked together for ten years as Hippolyte Hentgen, a third personality with absolute stylistic and expressive freedom. Besides drawing, at which both excel, their work features sculpture, objects for the stage, and animated films, developed over a number of years.

Hippolyte Hentgen deploys an infinitely varied vocabulary of forms, drawing on popular culture, press cartoons, animated films, posters from the inter-war years, anonymous photographs, advertising bills, packaging and more: ephemera from the margins of History, products of our industrial society and the mechanical mass-reproduction of images. Hippolyte Hentgen imbues these frequently orphaned, ‘un-authored’ images with a new life and soul, through the use of collage, overlay, cut-outs and visual borrowings.

For their exhibition at La Grande Place, musée du cristal Saint-Louis, the duo have created a panorama tailored to the scale of the setting, a visual and choral installation that enters into the multi-faceted world of the cristallerie: the shape of the tools, the surrounding landscape, the crystal colours obtained at the workshops through the addition of metallic oxides, the rejects destined for recycling or destruction, the catalogues of shapes preserved in the workshop archives, diagrams annotated by the artisan engravers, gilders, and polishers.

Hippolyte Hentgen draws on multiple materials and means to pay a vibrant, deceptively simple tribute to the multiplicity of gestures, expertise and techniques that attend the birth of each object produced at the workshops. In so doing, the duo’s work boldly and deftly bridges ‘high’ and popular culture, excellence and abject failure in an approach conceived as a continuous challenge to established hierarchies and a permanent dialogue between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste, the high and the low, the margins and the centre.

Curated by Marie Cozette, Director, CAC – la synagogue de Delme

This solo exhibition of the French duo Hippolyte Hentgen at La Grande Place, musée du cristal Saint-Louis, in Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche (Moselle, France) is produced by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, as part of its continuing support for temporary exhibitions at the Foundation’s own art spaces (in Brussels, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo).

Each year, the Foundation presents two exhibitions of contemporary art at Saint-Louis, with a focus on artisanship and/or skilled expertise. Each season of three monographic or themed exhibitions is co-produced with a leading cultural institution in the Lorraine region, in association with the cristallerie Saint-Louis and La Grande Place, Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis. Following the inaugural and follow-up seasons, in partnership with the Centre Pompidou-Metz and 49 Nord6 Est – Frac Lorraine (Metz), the Foundation has invited the Moselle-based contemporary arts centre – la synagogue de Delme to devise the third cycle of exhibitions.

Under the title L’héritage des secrets (‘The heritage of secrets’) Marie Cozette, director of CAC – la synagogue de Delme, has devised a series of three exhibitions exploring the historical, architectural, aesthetic, technical and human facets of the crystal workshops, over their four-hundred-year existence.

Hippolyte Hentgen. Overlay, 2017
© Hippolyte Hentgen
Courtesy Semiose galerie, Paris