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Michel Haillard solo exhibition
by La Plantation
Location: La Plantation
Artist(s): Michel HAILLARD
Date: 21 May - 31 Aug 2011

This is an art that dazzles, an art of exuberance and effervescence,with the creations that have a supernatural halo, luxuriant furniture, furiously convulsive chairs from a world that turns resolutely to experimentation, extrapolation and extraversion. An exceptional ensemble based upon the spirit of the earliest times, of the dawn of time and of men!Is the common factor between the Negro art, the Byzantine art, the Indian art, the Sino-Russian art and even the Polynesian art that we can identify as the omniscient given that runs through all of Michel Haillard’s art.

It is probably the art energy that has always presided over their birth that illuminates them with such an intense visual vigour. To that extent, our master-autodidact remains true to his origins, and to values that are subordinated to the ambitions of a rigorous craft that is always in search of pleasure. Doing away with all obessional mannerism, his work is oriented towards a powerful stylization in which chaos is, without any pretence, combined with a poetry, in which each piece reflects its own alterity and its related will to lyricism and excess. That is also a sign of its enthusiasm and audacity. The outcome: wittily accentuated masses, atypical reliefs, and top-of-the-range finishes. They resist our gaze: these are collectors’ items related to those produced by the traditions of Art Nouveau, the Spanish ultra-baroque and classical cabinetwork, rare and precious objects that encourage excess in every respect because of their spectacular dimensions, their volumetric structures, their opulent forms and the raw materials, which are natural but not naturans. To the naked eye, they look like items of furniture that are as carnal as they are sensual: all curves and counter-curves, organic and plant-like lines, strong, supple reliefs, complex spiral volutes … Their proliferation is reproduced with ingenious skill in the choice of ornamentation and expressive detail, which is somehow reminiscent of the nine-teenth-century fantasies of Carlo Bugatti. These are unique pieces in more than one sense. They cannot be reproduced because they were created individually, and cannot be imitated for generic and/or serial purposes, even though they can in artistic terms be attributed to a single representative sphere that is sui generis.

Michel Haillard is definitely in a category of his own. For him, every creation proves to be a new experience. This is but an open dialogue, a privileged exchange whose visual and tactile outcome always has a surprise in store, and the power to enchant. Each creation is a personal and fantastic interpretation, an implicit reprise of a work whose evocation recalls the finery of a tribal society characterized by a taste for refinement and anticonformism. This artist is an iconoclastic sculptor who also reinvents a whole bestiary in the shape of furniture. It is patently obvious that, for Michel Haillard, living and creating are one and the same. What the artist demands therefore lies not so much in the art that is his supreme goal as in his own life, which he approaches as a source of inspiration. As a result, there is no more a conflict between art and life than there is a conflict between art and the creation of furniture.

‘An armchair-sculpture is a sculpture but it still has to be an armchair that is designed to be sat upon’, states our creator with unfeigned irony and with a sidelong mischievous smile. In his view, the world of objects still allows him, he adds in substance, an element of freedom and play as he works with his hands, whereas art with a capital A remains more reserved and stricter.

And besides, this desire to ‘make’ art objects out of utilitarian objects -chairs, divans, sofas, tables, bureaux, lamps- remains one of the essential foundations of his work and worldview. For Michel Haillard, the art of furniture is an ideal language, a space of which we dream in our relations with the other and the other’s socio-cultural dimensions.

Michel Haillard’s goal is not to obey some style of production, to respond to some ready market, or even to found a movement or school, as various representatives of the school of Nancy, the Glasgow School, the Arts & Crafts Movement, the Wiener Werkstätte, De Stijl or the Bauhaus did at various times. He is more concerned, in the here and now, the hic et nunc, with establishing his reputation as a real personality, with a very intimate projection which finds its full accomplishment in his work, and which we see, so to speak, breathing life into his pieces thank to its élan vital!

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