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Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche, France

Arweider at La Grande Place

A encounter between two artists and the region’s crystal and glassworkers

Anne Deprez and Julie Luzoir spent ten months collecting the stories and memories of artisan crystal and glassworkers – the men and women adept with cutting wheels, hand ladles or blowing irons – for the group exhibition Arweider, devised with the Frac Lorraine (the regional fund for contemporary art).

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Arweider at La Grande Place
© DR

The men and women of the crystal foundries are at the heart of a new exhibition that bears their name in Plàtt, a cross-border language spoken in the French department of Moselle, in Luxembourg and in parts of Germany and Belgium.

Arweider means workers or labourers, and the name has a special resonance in the so-called Pays des étoiles terrestres (the ‘Land of earthly stars’) – an appellation encompassing three temples to artisan glass and crystal-making: the Musée Lalique, the Meisenthal glass factory, and La Grande Place/musée du cristal Saint-Louis.

Arweider is the fruit of a long-term collaborative project steered by 49 Nord 6 Est-Frac Lorraine with artists Anne Delrez and Julie Luzoir. On the museum’s top floor, vitrines display personal objects, photographs, drawings, collages and press cuttings lent by the artisans: precious archive items chosen to immerse the viewer in the daily lives of the crystal workers. Delrez and Luzoir collected their stories and memories, too: from their first day at work, to the fête de la Kirb (the village’s festival for its patron saint), and the skilled gestures performed as part of each individual’s working day. The resulting oral history is the basis for a sound work, broadcast within the exhibition space.

‘Everything comes together to form an unobtrusive evocation of the individual tastes and stories that are the backbone of the glass and crystal workshops,’ says Béatrice Josse, the exhibition’s curator.

Arweider is a group work that pays a ‘between-the-lines’ tribute to these custodians of ancestral skills, handed down from generation to generation. This is also the third and final exhibition in a series devised by 49 Nord 6 Est-Frac Lorraine, the regional institution invited by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès to curate a season of art events at La Grande Place in 2016-17.

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La Grande Place / Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis
Rue Coëtlosquet 57620 Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche, France
 Daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Tuesday (Closed on December 25 and January 1)
 Information: +33 3 87 06 40 04


Curator: Béatrice Josse