Until the 13th of September – Centre Pompidou
The Centre Pompidou pays tribute to the sculptor Étienne-Martin with an exhibition of some fifteen of his major works, all from the collection of the Centre Pompidou. Of these, it was Le Manteau (1962), the first sculpture in fabric in the history of modern art, that first gained him a wide reputation.
The recent acquisition of three works by way of donation in lieu of tax makes this a propitious moment for such an event. Alongside this exceptional selection of sculptures, the exhibition will include a number of drawings representing in Diagrammatic form the artist’s childhood home in Loriol as he experienced it in life and dream.
These are complemented by hitherto unpublished documents from the artist’s archives, donated to the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris by Mme Marie Thérèse Étienne-Martin, and photographs of the legendary studio in the Rue du Pot-de-Fer, near the Panthéon in Paris, where the artist lived from 1938 until his death in 1995.
Étienne-Martin (1913-1995) was in the 1960s synonymous with his Demeures [Dwellings], sculptures designed to be entered, dwelled in and experienced from the inside by the viewer: a series of works to which the Centre Pompidou devoted an exhibition in 1984.
Trained at the Académie Ranson and earlier a member of the Témoignage group, during the war Étienne-Martin was close to the painter Alfred Manessier, the sculptor François Stahly, the writer Henri-Pierre Roché and the architects of the Oppède group.
Working chiefly in wood and plaster and showing at Galerie Breteau in 1938 – later at the Couturier and Artcurial galleries – Étienne-Martin won the attention of art critics as different as Michel Tapié, Michel Ragon and Alain Jouffroy, and was quickly
recognized both as a peerless creator of forms and as a highly individual character, influenced as he was by the works of Gurdjieff and other schools of esoteric thought.
It was on the basis of childhood memories of the house where he had been born, at Loriol in the Drôme, that Étienne-Martin developed his sculptures, the works bearing a close connection to the house. Fascinated by both work and character, Harald Szeemann made the artist a key figure in the section “Individual Mythologies” at Documenta 5 in Kassel in 1972.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue edited by curator Jean-Paul Ameline, to be published by Éditions du Centre Pompidou.