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Emmanuel Saulnier Black Dancing

Emmanuel Saulnier has been developing an essentially sculptural body of work, in a constant dialogue with the practice of drawing. Even though glass is his preferred material, the artist explores the potential of matter in the broadest sense. His work confronts such issues as collective memories, presence and disappearance.

Entitled “Black Dancing” and organised in three phases, Emmanuel Saulnier’s show at Palais de Tokyo provides visitors with the possibility to activate, by their presence, the particular rhythm of each work or series of works. The first space, whose floor has been covered with pieces of tarmac from a public building site, contrasts thanks to its darkness with a second space, which is vast and luminous.

In “Round Midnight”, a new series of pieces specially devised for this exhibition, the artist pays homage to the jazz standard of the same name composed by Thelonious Monk. As an allusion to the pianist’s famous improvisational style, the sculpture escapes from its constraints to become a free, spontaneous gesture; it mutates into a drawing in space, on the scale of the site. Poetic correspondences are woven between the transparency of glass and sculpted wood, asphalt or else dried ink, whose darkness evokes the night of the soul.


Curator: Katell Jaffrès




From 03/02/2017 to 08/05/2017

Open every day except Tuesdays, from noon until midnight.

“How can we avoid bringing in the omnipresence of tensions that cross over landscapes? What to do, when everything can fall apart violently? What to establish? Or hold onto? …” Emmanuel Saulnier

Interview with Marielle Tabard for the artist's show at Atelier Brancusi, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou (“PLACE NOIRE PLACE BLANCHE”, 2004)
Emmanuel Saulnier

Emmanuel Saulnier (born in 1952 in Paris, where he lives) took charge of the sculpture studio at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, in 2002. His works have in particular been shown in the group exhibitions “Formes Simples” (Centre Pompidou-Metz; Mori Museum, Tokyo, 2015) and “Traces du Sacré” (Centre Pompidou, 2008). His latest solo show in Paris was organised at Le Passage de Retz (2012). Previously, his work has also been featured in solo shows at the Musée d’Orsay (“Emmanuel Saulnier / Odilon Redon”, Paris, 2007), the Atelier Brancusi, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou (“PLACE NOIRE PLACE BLANCHE “, 2004), at La Maréchalerie, École d'Architecture, Versailles (“OUVERT/COUVERT”, 2004), or else at La Verrière, Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Brussels (“BOIS VOIS SOIS”, 2002). He has also responded to several large-scale public commissions, such as “Rester/Résister”, dedicated to the civilian victims of Nazism at Vassieux-en-Vercors or else “Hommage à Jean-Jacques Rousseau” for the Musée du Château d’Annecy. He was a resident at the Villa Médicis, the Academy of France in Rome, in 1986. Two monographs have been devoted to him by Les Editions du Regard: Principe Transparent by Luc Lang and Jean-Pierre Greff (1999), and Condition d’Existence by Amaury Da Cunha and Doris Von Drathen (2012).

Dans l'atelier d'Emmanuel Saulnier

This exhibition benefits from the support of La Moderne.