Nouvel is an architect of concept and context, of dematerialization and image. Extremely demanding and indisputably original, he continues to elaborate a body of work in synch with the spirit of the times, and able to respond to them. A charismatic figure of contemporary culture, he is famous throughout the world for his architecture. This exhibition, the largest ever devoted to his work, is presented in a scenography he has designed himself: 1,100 square meters of impressively proliferating projects, including very recent ones which remain unfamiliar to the general public.
Galleries 2 and 3, level 6
The Centre Pompidou, MusÃ©e national dâ€™art moderne / Centre de crÃ©ation industrielle, presents an exhibition devoted to Jean Nouvel, from December 6, 2001, to March 4, 2002.
Jean Nouvel is an architect of concept and context, of dematerialization and image. Extremely demanding and indisputably original, he continues to elaborate a body of work in synch with the spirit of the times, and able to respond to them. A charismatic figure of contemporary culture, he is famous throughout the world for his architecture and has received three international distinctions this year (the Borromini Prize, the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the Praemium Imperiale awarded in Tokyo). This exhibition, the largest ever devoted to his work, is presented in a scenography he has designed himself: 1,100 square meters of impressively proliferating projects, including very recent ones which remain unfamiliar to the general public.
Jean Nouvel was born on August 12,1945, in Fumel (France). He dreamed of being a painter, but in 1964 he entered the School of Fine Arts in Bordeaux in architecture. In 1966, he took first place in the admissions competition to the National Superior School of Fine Arts Paris, from which he received his diploma in 1972. Moving in the intellectual circles around Paul Virilio and Claude Parent (for whom he worked from 1967 to 1970), he opened his first office in 1970 with FranÃ§ois Seigneur. He met the critic Georges Boudaille, thanks to whom he became the architect of the Paris Biennial in 1971. He created exhibition designs a kind of commission he particularly enjoys including that of the architecture and design section of the exhibition "Les AnnÃ©es 50"(The 1950s) at the Centre Pompidou in 1988,or more recently, "The Future of Work"and "Mobility" at Expo 2000 in Hanover. In 1976 he met the stage designer Jacques le Marquet, who introduced him to the world of theater.
Jean Nouvel has always taken clear,even polemical positions on issues involving architecture and the city.He was co-founder of the "March 1976"movement and of the Architectural Union in 1976. He co-organized the international "counter-competition"for the redevelopment of the Halles district.In 1980 he founded the Architectural Biennial, within the framework of the Paris Biennial. Today he is president of the Association pour la Mutation de l â€™Ile Seguin (AMIS).
His first striking achievement,an example of what he terms a "critical architecture," was the Maison Dick, (France,1976).Then came a series of projects to mark out his path,from the Centre mÃ©dico-chirurgical in Bezons (France,1976)to the CollÃ¨ge Anne Franck in Antony (France,1978).In 1981 he won the prize for the Institut du Monde Arabe, the first decisive turning point in his career.
To exhibit Jean Nouvel is to bear witness to a highly singular body of work,a constantly mutating language that deals both in concepts and images,always in search of "hyper-specificity,"a poetics of situations and dematerialization.For him,architecture is "a visual art,a production of images."He has designed the scenography of the exhibition essentially around an image-system,created in order to draw out emotions and sensations from a visitor plunged into semi-darkness along a path through five thematic sequences.The image-system eschews conventional means of representation such as plans and models.The exhibition is neither exhaustive,nor scientific. It seeks to be a workshop of a ideas,a multiplicity of approaches to the architect. The first sequence,entitled "The Essence of Materiality,"is a kind of atlas,an image- container entirely saturated with slide projections,immediately capturing the spectator's gaze.Views from afar (general views of the projects,presented statically)are juxtaposed to close-ups at the limit of the identifiable (projected details),displaying the extent and importance of his built work in both qualitative and quantitative terms.
The second thematic sequence reveals the multiplicity,specificity and accumulation of his projects,which have been entirely designed by computer since the Cultural and Conference Center of Lucerne,a turning point as emblematic as that of the Institut du Monde Arabe.Computer-generated images are glued directly to the walls:spectacular, hyper-realist virtual representations that convey the interferences,the innovations and the ruptures.Twenty-three projects have been selected for presentation in two spaces, including the Guggenheim Temporary Museum of Art in Tokyo (Japan,2001), the French Embassy in Berlin (Germany,1997),the JVC Business Center in Guadalajara (Mexico,1999),the Richemont Corporate Headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland,2001), the Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos (Spain,2000),the Cultural Center of Santiago de Compostella (Spain,1999).These projects deal with questions of landscape, vegetation and territory,which have become central in the work of Jean Nouvel. Also presented are the museums,including two which are still under construction: the MusÃ©e du Quai Branly (Paris,1999)and the extension of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid (Spain,1999);the final stages of dematerialization,where the materials become increasingly invisible:the Dentsu Tower in Tokyo (Japan,1998-2003),the Prato Chamber of Commerce (Italy,2000),the Philharmonic Room in Luxembourg (Duchy of Luxembourg,1997),la BIS Tower in Basel (Switzerland,1999)and Kyriat Arieh 1 in Tel Aviv (Israel,1999);a number of American projects,for example,the River Hotel in Brooklyn (New York,USA,1999)and the projects still under study:the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh (USA,2001),the Soho Hotel in New York (USA,2001-2002), or the very recent Landmarck project in New York (USA,2001).
The question of the city and of urban strategies is essential for Jean Nouvel. It is presented via two major projects in Paris: Seine-Rive Gauche,quartier Austerlitz- SalpÃªtriÃ¨re (Paris,1993)and the Stade de France (Saint-Denis,1994).Certain phases of these projects have been "animated"by Alain Fleischer.
Sequence 4 offers a virtual visit to eleven emblematic buildings,via a photographic reportage by Georges Fessy:from the Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris,1981-1987)to the recent conversion of a Gasometer in Vienna (Austria,1994-2001),from the Nemausus housing project in NÃ®mes (France,1985-1987)to the Cultural and Conference Center in Lucerne (Switzerland,1990-2001).This reportage observes the current state of the buildings.Moving among these impressive images,projected almost life size,the visitor confronts the constructed space of the architect.
The reconstruction of the architectural office is the only illuminated room in the exhibition.Eighteen monitors arranged on three tables allow the public to consult the archives,dossiers and data-banks of the office.Over two hundred projects designed in the course of twenty years can be consulted.They are divided into five groups: the projects still underway,the urban projects,the scenographies,the completed projects and the unrealized projects such le Parc de la Villette (Paris,1982),la MediathÃ¨que et le Centre d â€™art contemporain of NÃ®mes (France,1984),the New National Theater in Tokyo (Japan,1986),the Tower without Ends,Triangle de la Folie (Paris-La DÃ©fense,1989-1994), the Halo of the Spire in Salzburg (Austria,1989)...Films by Odile Fillion present some eighteen other constructions by Jean Nouvel,such as the renovation of the Belfort Theater (Territory of Belfort,1980-1984),the St-Ouen housing project (France,1982-1987), l â€™HÃ´tel Saint-James in Bouliac (France,1987-1989),the RÃ©sidence Pierre et Vacances in Le Cap-d â€™Ail (France,1987),the GÃ©noscope in Lanaud (,France,1990-1994),the HÃ´tel des Thermes in Dax (Farnce,1990-1992),the MusÃ©e de la publicitÃ© (Paris,1997-1999)...
The Jean Nouvel exhibition will subsequently be presented in Italy,Spain,the United States and Japan.
Exhibition curator: Chantal BÃ©ret
Curator at the National Museum of Modern Art/Center of Industrial Design at the Centre Pompidou.
The book, offering a visual memory of the exhibition, is punctuated by images of the scenography, with each sequence corresponding to one room. This copiously illustrated volume, placed under the direction of Chantal BÃ©ret, includes essays by Paul Virilio ("A Jean Nouvel"), Yehuda E.Safran ("Le rouge et le noir: notes sur la dÃ©matÃ©rialisation"), Jean-Paul Robert ("Ici maintenant"), FrÃ©dÃ©ric Migayrou ("Les desseins du concept"), Jacques Lacan ("Une esthÃ©tique de l â€™immanence")et Chantal BÃ©ret ("Eloge de la multi- plicitÃ©").It also includes excerpts from lectures and texts by Jean Nouvel,a biography, a chronology and a bibliography.
The exhibition is open to the public from December 6, 2001 to March 4, 2002, every day except Tuesday Hours from 11 a.m.to 9 p.m.
Centre national d'art et de Culture Georges Pompidou 75191 Paris Cedex 04.