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Tokyo, Japan

Emmanuel Saulnier at Le Forum

ATM tempo I/II/III

Emmanuel Saulnier’s work echoes historical and tragic events, encouraging us to question the true nature of what motivates us as humans. Invited to work in situ at Le Forum, he continues his existential exploration with a striking, musically inspired project that’s part improvisation, par reflection.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Emmanuel Saulnier at Le Forum
© Nacása & Partners Inc. / Courtesy of Fondation d'entreprise Hermès

This piece is all about rhythm and spontaneity, but also silence. French artist Emmanuel Saulnier’s installation at Le Forum is directly inspired by music, and the music of American pianist Thelonious Monk in particular. Profoundly impressed by the composer and performer’s concerts – including Tokyo, in 1963 – Saulnier presents three elements (tempo I/II/III) arranged like a piece of jazz music. The project follows on from Black Dancing, Saulnier’s solo exhibition held recently at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

Complementing Saulnier’s material of choice (transparent glass), here he deploys carved wood, bitumen and dried ink in a free-ranging exploration of darkness and obscurity that is close to jazz improvisation. It’s left to the visitor to activate the rhythm inherent in each room, by his or her presence. In addition to his own ‘musical’ world, Saulnier surveys his artistic horizons at Le Forum with a hanging of works by artists from his teaching studio at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. Each resonates with his installation to present a ‘between the lines’ portrait of this leading figure on the French contemporary scene, born in 1952.

The project is the latest chapter in Emmanuel Saulnier’s long-standing collaboration with the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, following a solo exhibition at La Verrière in Brussels, in 2002, and a new work commissioned for the exhibition Formes simples (‘Simple shapes’), shown at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in 2014 and at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo the following year. Emmanuel Saulnier was also a mentor for the first season of artists’ residencies at the Hermès workshops in France.

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Ginza Maison Hermès “Le Forum”
8F 5-4-1 Ginza Chuo-ku 104-0061 Tokyo
Tel: 03-3569-3300
Mon-Sat 11:00-20:00 (Last admission 19:30)
Sun 11:00-19:00 (Last admission 18:30)
Open daily
Admission Free


Curator: Reiko Setsuda