Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
February 28 - April 09, 2019
Let us first and foremost look at what we see: two series of drawings showing distinct compositions, formats, modes of production and universes of evocation. Both share the same generous use of colour, mastery of space, combinatorial taste and a rigorous and informed approach to the physicality of drawing...
Let us first and foremost look at what we see: two series of drawings showing distinct compositions, formats, modes of production and universes of evocation. Both share the same generous use of colour, mastery of space, combinatorial taste and a rigorous and informed approach to the physicality of drawing. The first series by Ronan Bouroullec includes work in five different formats, all dated 2018, in which each element is only referenced by its place of creation. Abundantly covering the walls of the gallery, it shows a set of ink and Japanese brush pen drawings on glossy paper. The hand gesture, always similar yet always novel, organically deposits a trajectory of colour on the glossy surface. Made on a quotidian basis, the drawings accompany the designer day after day like a diary. Suspended moments, they express a great fluidity, a frank simplicity. Forms and furrows pass from one sheet of paper to another in an almost infinite continuum. Colours are rarely mixed, dialoguing through recurrences and similarities. The gesture is sometimes ample and sometimes more constrained, saturating the paper with more or less intensity. All express colourful sensations, spontaneous compositional intuitions, without a single protocol ever being followed. An autonomous practice, made possible by the economy of means and by the freedom—that intimate plenitude—which Ronan Bouroullec allows himself when, outside of his studio, he is faced with a page waiting to be tested. Are these drawings meant to be read and interpreted? Or should they be encountered, as we would a familiar tune? It is up to each of us to decide, according to our own references—surrealist, contemporary or idiosyncratic. The second series by Erwan Bouroullec is composed of twelve drawings with descriptive titles, Marché, Forêt, Chantier or Pile. These drawings are digital in a double sense: not only are they produced by digital printing, but above all they are conceived using a specially developed software, which processes the photographs chosen for their structure and colour compositions. The result is a series of “translations”: from the eye to the lens, from pixel to digital coding, from software to printing, from figurative to abstract, from the chosen subject to the image produced—all this gives birth to complementary optical games, simultaneously macroscopic and microscopic. Each drawing reminds us that every image is the result of a process and a succession of choices: framing, format, colour saturation, considerations of perspective and depth… All of them testify to a tension between contact and contrast, between the life of each line and its encounter with all the others, between the amplitude of its radiation and its ability to blend into a network. Through their appearance and their mode of production, these digital drawings are both mental exercises—how to show the shapes, structures and colours in movement which make up the bare thread of our reality—and aesthetic reveries, sometimes melancholic, sometimes chaotic, sometimes joyful, always fascinating. It is up to each of us to exercise our sagacity in the face of a reality which has thus been redrawn. The brothers, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, have been working together since 1998. They sign their creations together whether for design brands, projects in public space or their ten solo exhibitions presented at Galerie kreo since 2001. This eleventh exhibition is therefore an event for them as well as for the gallery. It is indeed the first t ime t hey extensively exhibit together their respective personal drawing practices. Previously, the brothers have sporadically revealed these in museum exhibition contexts, the ‘Drawing’ book published in 2013 and on their Instagram accounts. Drawings for designs? Certainly not. By exhibiting them, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec offer a unique opportunity to deepen our knowledge of their universe. Far from being a simple extension of our support to their design activity, these drawings constitute a private element, detached from production contingencies. They are neither sketches nor reflexive exercises for the conception of objects. Such drawings do exist, in a limited quantity, but have a different status, closely related to the pieces they anticipate and/or accompany. Designers drawings? Certainly, since Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec are among the most influential designers active on the contemporary international scene. It is not only tempting, but also relevant to examine their common design practice and the autonomy of these drawing series in parallel. It is not a question of reducing the latter to their public activity, but of understanding how they express an intimate and decisive part of their creativity.
Ronan (born 1971) and Erwan Bouroullec (born 1976) are brothers and designers based in Paris. They have been working together for about fifteen years bonded by diligence and challenged by their distinct personalities. Their studio is based in Paris and their team numbers around six people.
In 1997, they were spotted by Cappellini, giving them their first industrial design projects. They began working with the Galerie kreo in 2000 and had their first solo show there in 2001...