IN SEARCH OF A GOOD STORY AND GREAT DESIGN AT DEMISCH DANANT
Suzanne Demisch and Stephane Danant are detectives of sorts, tracking down the history behind 20th-century French designers, now from their new Rafael de Cárdenas–designed Manhattan gallery.
Demisch and Danant have made the case for the significance of this period by carrying out careful scholarship, producing the occasional monograph and mounting a regular volley of elegantly curated shows and art fair booths. They led the way in rediscovering the work of designers like Joseph-André Motte, who designed seating for Paris Metro stations as well as for the city’s Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports. They also reintroduced the lesser-known work of Pierre Paulin, particularly that produced for the Élysée Palace, where he designed rooms for two presidents — including the futuristic igloo-shaped smoking chamber he created for the private apartment of Georges Pompidou and the neoclassical offices of François Mitterrand, which he enhanced with groovy blue-lacquered postmodern desks and chairs. In addition, they tracked down Maria Pergay, whose sensuous stainless-steel chairs and chaises had once been favored by Pierre Cardin, and persuaded her to begin producing new work.
...Demisch Danant’s first exhibition in the new space, “Made in France” (through October 29), includes work by Motte, Paulin, Pergay and Michel Boyer, as well as furniture and art by the sculptor César and historical pieces by the textile designer Sheila Hicks. Fresh finds are also on view, from the Parisian designer Étienne Fermigier and the Verre Lumière studio, which produced lighting for designers and architects like Paulin and Boyer between 1968 and ’89.
“The show is a personal narrative about what we’re interested in and why, and how we came across the work,” says Demisch. “We wanted to show our new discoveries and to include the audience in our process.” ...“It starts with one find, and then the connections fall into place, the discovery process is part of connoisseurship.”
by Carol Kino