Pierre Yovanivitch summons a sea of red textiles, upholstery, and whimsical graphics at R & Company‘s White Street location in Manhattan for an exhibition that debuts his latest lighting and furniture collection. From November 6 2019 to January 4, 2020, the gallery space will be taken with LOVE, a showcase of over twenty new works fashioned by ceramists, woodworkers, glassmakers, and iron artists. LOVE draws from Yovanovitch’s iconic aesthetic vocabulary, referencing contemporary and historic French decorative arts, peppered with his hallmark handmade touches and humor.
As told by the French interior designer, the exhibition unfolds in as a story that runs through reoccurring motifs like fantastical hands, lips, and Jean Arp-like shapes. Sprinkled throughout, these visual throughlines are seen in upholstered stitching, sconces, chair silhouettes, and so on. As one passes through each space, there’s a deliberate intimacy to the scale, textures, and material palette—one that is soft to the touch and perfect for the smallest of gatherings.
Furniture pieces featured in the exhibition include a number of chairs and luminaires adorned with body part motifs. These works carry flirtatious names. Two big and small bear-shaped armchairs—complete with hand-stitched hands embroidered by Lesage Intérieur—are aptly dubbed Daydream Mama Bear and Daydream Papa Bear. In a somewhat lewd tone, the bed frame is titled Take Off, as if alluding to salacious uses of this furniture typology. Even better, a suite of textiles called Lust with lip and hand patterns includes a bedspread, embroidered with a face, two eyes, and luscious lips.
Each room, like a tableau, is uniquely characterized by its own inherent domestic function: a living room, a dining room, a boudoir, and, of course, a bedroom. In the living room, Art Moderne-looking wooden chairs emulate a diluted version of something Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann would have shown in a room at the 1929 Paris International Exhibition. Meanwhile, the dining room features chairs from Yovanovitch’s 2017 Miss Oops collection; gathering around a pair of disconnected tables which form as a display of different kinds of loves (a table for two versus a table for five). Then, like an ode to love itself, a pink and red room features a Tête-à-Tête sofa perfect for affectionate whispering.
Naturally, LOVE culminates in the bedroom with a romantic painting—depicting two lovers hung over a mantel—that acts like a blessing to the nearby bed. This seemingly arbitrary placement of ornate decorative objects somehow comes together to articulate a sense of intimacy in a broad, very French context—like what love would look like if staged at a furniture gallery. Not forgetting the strange neon-light that reads “you should have loved ME,” perhaps the exhibit could have been called “Unrequited Love.”
Header image: The exhibition features a number of works by other galleries including Perrotin, Lehmann Maupin, Salon 94, Almine Rech, Kamel Mennou,r as well as artwork by Claire Tabouret. (Courtesy Stephen Kent Johnson)