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Marine Class at Puiforcat

Artists’ residencies 2011: Table reliefs

Launched by the Foundation d’entreprise Hermès in 2010, the annual artists’ residencies allow four young visual artists to establish a creative dialogue with a range of exceptional artisan skills. Mentored by artist Richard Deacon, Marine Class worked at the Puiforcat metalwork factory in 2011.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Marine Class at Puiforcat
© Tadzio

Born in 1983, Marine Class uses found objects and materials to create a new formal repertoire in installations, drawings and sculptures. She is a graduate of the Paris École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (2007) where she trained with Richard Deacon, her mentor for the 2011 residency.

Marine Class spent months immersed in the day-to-day life of the Puiforcat workshop in Pantin, on the edge of Paris, working alongside expert smiths. Founded by Émile Puiforcat in Paris in 1820, the factory established itself as a centre of excellence in cutlery-making, and diversified into fine metalwork in the late 19th century. Puiforcat joined the house of Hermès in 1993. 

Following an initial feasibility study, Class’s Table reliefs were created with Hermès artisans. Sheets of brass were cut out, adjusted, then soldered and shaped by folding and hammering or pawling. Finally, the piece was silvered.

Table reliefs is a still-life in three parts: a faceted, pitcher-like object ‘beached’ like a wreck between two ‘reefs’. A vanitas piece, or a domestic landscape in silvered metal? The central table decoration explores the formal ambiguities of the wrecked ship, icebergs and gemstones, presented on a table whose faceted silver legs reflect, multiply and reinterpret the colourful motifs on a cloth covering its top. The beautifully-executed work testifies to the technical mastery of the Puiforcat workshops – a central feature of Marine Class’s inspiration for her hybrid sculpture.

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