The Fondation Bettencourt Schueller celebrates 20 years of support of the craftsmanship at Palais de Tokyo

Published by: L'art en plus | 27-Sep-2019
The Liliane Bettencourt Prize « pour l'intelligence de la main »® is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with the exhibition L'ESPRIT COMMENCE ET FINIT AU BOUT DES DOIGTS*
Venue: Palais de Tokyo
Address: 13, avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris
Date: 16/10/2019 - 10/11/2019
The Prize, created by the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, is the cornerstone of its commitment to valorizing the French métiers d'art. Year after year, it has offered an opportunity to showcase the exceptional craftsmanship, creativity and innovation displayed in the artistic crafts sector. It tells the histories of the laureates, situating their trajectories in relation to human, social and economic issues that are crucial for future times. The Prize also translates the conviction that métiers d'art have great value for our own time. In a society characterized by fast consumption, dematerialization, product standardization, these crafts inherited from the past and culturally rooted in our territories convey the expression of passion, of preference for the long term, engagement with material, the porosity of boundaries and the dialogue between disciplines. They are part of the French contemporary art scene. This exhibition reflects the Fondation's twenty years of commitment, an occasion for celebration.

The Palais de Tokyo provides a setting that is uniquely adapted to the drawing up of such an inventory. Designed by Jean-Claude Dondel, André Aubert, Paul Viard and Marcel Dastugue for the 1937 International Exposition, the place is indeed an emblematic hybrid of classicism and modernity. For one month, it will host the various talents that have been rewarded and supported by the Fondation, without trying to hierarchize the works or the crafts displayed.

The exhibition is organized within the space of the magnificent « Orbe New York » hall into four sequences, playing on the variations of light intensity and on the dilation of space, opening with a contextual introduction, and celebrating first the hands alone before showing them embodied.

The entrance wall bears the inscription of the sentence that has been chosen as the title of the exhibition. It engages in dialogue with the lines by Paul Valéry inscribed on the pediments of the Palais de Chaillot, a building located nearby and dating from the same period.

- You must admit that hands are a really extraordinary appliance... In the morning, professional...
- And by appointment...
- And in the evening - functional!... It's wonderful. They're the all-purpose grippers!
- But what about the mind?
- It begins and ends in the finger tips.

* The mind begins and ends in the fingertips, extracted from a dialogue by Paul Valéry, L'Idée fixe ou deux Hommes à la mer, 1932 (translated into English as Idée Fixe. A Duologue by the Sea, NY, Bollingen Foundation, 1965).

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