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Olivier Sévère at the Cristalleries de Saint-Louis

Artist's residency 2010: De rien de se crée rien

In 2010, the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès forged links between craftsmanship and contemporary art, with four residencies for French-speaking artists in each of the Hermès workshops. Mentored by Emmanuel Saulnier, Olivier Sévère and glass-workers at the Cristalleries de Saint-Louis created a group of 'crystal boulders'.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Olivier Sévère at the Cristalleries de Saint-Louis
© photo Marc Domage © Fondation d'entreprise Hermès

Olivier Sévère graduated from the Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2002. His humorous work explores the plasticity and materiality of consumer objects, elevating them to the rank of works of art: Extra-Dur is a block of marble carved into a soft cushion; Hors-Jeu is a set of skittles made from blown glass; Submersibles is a set of swimmer's inflatable armbands made from cast bronze.

For the Foundation's programme of artists' residencies, Sévère worked at the Cristalleries de Saint-Louis, in Saint-Louis-Lès-Bitche in the French department of Moselle, where master glassmakers have explored the secrets of crystal since 1586.

Focusing on the study and exploration of his materials (their natural properties, chemical composition and physical constraints), Sévère presents his own take on the natural cycle of matter: stone is broken down into sand, the essential component of crystal glass, which is then worked to resemble stone. In this way, he creates an imaginative repertory of natural, mineral forms (pebbles, stones, boulders and rocks), all made in crystal, worked hot or cold, blown, poured and moulded, cut or sanded, engraved or gilded as appropriate. The finished pieces are arranged by category, on tables, like mineral samples in the collector's cabinets of old.

The residency at the famous crystal factory celebrates Sévère's witty approach to his material, and the exceptional expertise of Saint-Louis's master glassmakers, in a spirit of knowledge-sharing and exchange.

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Immersion: two weeks in June 2010
Production: visits of one to two weeks per month between October 2010 and January 2011

Exposition: Musée de cristal de Saint-Louis, May 6th to June 18th 2011
For more information, please contact the museum +33 (0)3 87 06 40 04 /