Firozabad artists work with French artist for exhibit in Paris

Artisans from Firozabad, famed for its bangles and other glass works, have collaborated with French artist Jean Michel Othoniel to create a glass sculpture that would later be showcased in Paris.

Last Updated: Sep 03, 2010, 14:45 PM IST

New Delhi: Artisans from Firozabad, famed
for its bangles and other glass works, have collaborated with
French artist Jean Michel Othoniel to create a glass sculpture
that would later be showcased in Paris as part of a bigger
exhibition involving India.

Othoniel is known for his larger-than-life creations
in glass such as hanging giant necklaces in the bamboo gardens
of Rome and transforming the entrance of a Paris Metro station
into a "Kiosk of the night-walkers" made of glass beads
coloured threaded on a structure of aluminium among other
creations.

The French contemporary artist visited India in 2009
and interacted with the artisan glass blowers in Firozabad to
execute his watercolour drawing of a bejewelled glass wall.

"I have been working with glass medium for the past 15
years and have worked with many glass blowers but the
technique used by artisans in Firozabad is new. We have more
hi-tech blowers but the ones here are different, they work
with passion," the artist told news agency in an interview.

The sculpture "Precious Stonewall" comprises of 4200
bricks blown from glass and polished to a gold gleam and are
piled on top of each other to crate a 4.2 metre high wall that
has been adorned with 150 glass bead necklaces strung over it.

"I discovered the primal force of this material of
deep hues while working in Firozabad in the heat of furnaces
and the dust of pigments," he says.

The 5-ton structure would be travelling to Paris where
it will be showcased at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2011 as
part of a major exhibition involving India and titled,
"Paris-Delhi-Bombay."

"Sometimes a work of art can make you look at normal
life in a different way. A pile of bricks lying on the road
can never be imagined to be made into something so beautiful.

I created the precious brick wall to remind people of that,"
says the 46-year old artist.

Even though Othoniel has worked to create huge
installations in glass, the French artist does not limit
himself to the medium and says he has a passion for materials
with reversible properties and focuses on the moments of
transition when an object changes from one state to another.

"My next project is a sandstone monument. I am also
thinking of creating something from bangles. I have collected
around 22,000 bangles so far," says the artist.

The `Precious Stone wall` created in India at the
invitation of the French embassy in collaboration with
Culturesfrance (Paris), the Alliance Francaise de Delhi and
supported by the Centre Geores Pompidou, would be exhibited at
the Lalit Kala Kendra here till August 28, 2010 before
travelling to Paris.

PTI