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France / La Grande Place

Crystallisations at La Grande Place

Genesis of a hidden order, at La Grande Place, musée du Cristal Saint-Louis

In 1611, the astronomer Johannes Kepler published A New Year’s Gift or the Six-Cornered Snowflake, the first scientific treatise devoted to the study of snow crystals. Based on Kepler’s ‘cosmo-poetic’ research, the Foundation presents a cross-disciplinary exhibition at Saint-Louis, exploring the phenomenon of crystallisation. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Crystallisations at La Grande Place
© Benoît Billotte

At the heart of our beautifully structured and ordered world, we find the spontaneous, symmetrical forms of ice crystals. Described by Kepler, their harmonious geometry suffuses the exhibition devised by Hélène Guenin (artistic programme director) and Alexandra Müller, research officer at the Centre Pompidou Metz. Invited by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, their exhibition at  La Grande Place, the Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis, presents artworks and scientific documents ‘taking as their starting point the emergence of structure from the chaos of diffuse matter, driven by the forces of chance and necessity.’

Against the background hum of the workshop furnaces, the exhibition itinerary showcases a dialogue of contemporary sculptures, drawings, photographs and plates from early scientific studies, in a dreamlike, poetic setting with a distinctive, geological accent. The group show features work by some twenty artists, including Ilana Halperin and Soyoung Chung, using stone and sugar respectively to work directly with Nature and echo the naturally sophisticated forms of crystals described by European research scientists since the 17th century. 

Other participating artists include Benoît Billotte, Guillaume Barborini, Jérôme Knebusch and François Génot, each forging his own connection with this ambivalent frontier territory. 

The Fondation d’entreprise supports the regional focus of La Grande Place, Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis, as reflected in the exhibition’s joint curatorship with the Centre Pompidou Metz. After Simples Gestes (‘Simple Gestures’), the show is the second in a series of three curated by the Centre Pompidou Metz in the exceptional setting of the Saint-Louis crystal workshop and museum.

>> Find out more about Simples Gestes at La Grande Place, musée du cristal Saint-Louis

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La Grande Place, Musée du cristal Saint-Louis, 57620 Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche

Exhibition open from April 9 to September 21 2015,

Daily except Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission free with museum ticket


Hélène Guenin, programme director, and Alexandra Müller, research officer at the Centre Pompidou-Metz