Selected Works

Photo by Markus Haugg
Photo by Markus Haugg
Photo by Markus Haugg
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Demisch Danant is pleased to announce the exhibition Textured Planes: Sheila Hicks, Joseph André Motte, Pierre Paulin, featuring major works of the 1960s and 1970s by artist Sheila Hicks, and furniture designers Joseph André Motte and Pierre Paulin. On view from March 6 through May 10, the exhibition centers on how these three creators utilized textiles as a means of architectural intervention, effectively softening and reforming space using fiber as a medium. Among the objects on view will be four large-scale early works by Hicks, works by Pierre Paulin designed for the Palais de l’Élysée and Motte’s designs for the City Hall of Rouen – some of which have never previously been exhibited. The exhibition will coincide with this year’s Whitney Biennial where Hicks’ work is on view.

Sheila Hicks (b. 1934), a celebrated American artist living in Paris since 1964, was an early pioneer of using fiber as a means of affecting spatial perceptions in architecture through her use of texture, color, light and form. The late 1960s were marked by Sheila Hicks’ growing interest in soft walls and pliable planes. Through her large-scale works, Hicks sought to humanize and reform space through the interaction of her soft compositions with the geometric solidity of the spaces they inhabit. The exhibition will include a tapestry commissioned by Air France in 1969 for the interior of a Boeing 747 aircraft, a site-specific work that effectively replaced the plane’s interior wall with a highly textural tapestry. Two of Hicks’ iconic Prayer Rugs, whose thickness and accumulated mass extended her textured planes into the third dimension, will also be on view in the exhibition, one of which was commissioned by Elie de Rothschild.

In 1975, Joseph André Motte (1925–2013) designed Trêfles, a group of modular seating made almost entirely of foam and upholstery for the City Hall of Rouen. Motte’s Trefles could be approached from all orientations and offered a unique flexibility in its design, affecting the ways in which people circulate in the surrounding space. On view at Demisch Danant, Motte’s modular seating and other works designed for this project reflect his interest in injecting softness and comfort in large-scale public architecture. Throughout his career, Motte selected natural materials such as fabric and wood to counteract the hardness of concrete– the dominant building material of this period.

Best known for his use of radical curved forms and modern textiles, Pierre Paulin (1927-2009) revolutionized seating through entirely upholstered designs, using foam and fabric as a meta-structure. Throughout the 1960s Paulin utilized new construction techniques to create original curved forms that featured openings, color and textures. For his monumental commission for the Palais de l’Élysée in 1969-72, Paulin covered the existing interior of the Presidential residence with stretch jersey to create a vaulted ceiling, transforming the structure. The exhibition will feature Élysée Dining Suite and Élysée Chairs, which were designed for this project and mirrored these architectural interventions.

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