The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris welcomes “Simone Pheulpin, plieuse de temps” an exhibition paying tribute to a unique artist who has celebrated her 80th birthday in 2021. The exhibition highlights almost 50 years of an exceptional career.

Made of strata, rifts and concretions, her cotton artworks seem to defy time, reflecting how the artist views nature and the world. Both her approach and her craft derive from an original personal technique, modeling, out of folds, organic sculptures with an infinity of textures. More than 40 artworks – including three recent acquisitions – open a dialogue with the museum’s historic collections. A reference monograph published by Éditions Cercle d’Art will accompany the exhibition. Sleek, poetical, and timeless, the monograph reflects Pheulpin’s style. The book will be exclusively available at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs’ book shop from December 7th, 2021 and throughout the exhibition.

Simone Pheulpin, portrait
© Antoine Lippens © Adagp, Paris, 2021

Born in Nancy in 1941, Simone Pheulpin was raised in the Vosges region in Northeastern France. Within the folds of her sculptures and the thousand pins that support them, she narrates her homeland, a region historically linked to textile, with its landscape of lakes and mountain ranges. Self-educated, Pheulpin developed a brand-new technique that she has been perfecting for almost 50 years. Her innovative practice still supports French traditions as she works exclusively with raw cotton from one of the last French textile factories, located in the Vosges, as well as straight pins from the very last French pin manufacturing company.

Represented by Galerie Maison Parisienne, Simone Pheulpin’s artworks have joined the public collections of several institutions – the Art Institute of Chicago, USA (2018), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2018) and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (2019 and 2021).

Simone Pheulpin, Triptyque, 2020
3 panels of 130 x 80 cm each
© Antoine Lippens © Adagp, Paris, 2021

In 2015, The Fondation des Ateliers d’Art de France awarded her with the Prix Le Créateur, which rewards not only creativity and originality, but also the artists’ ability to conceive an exhibition project. In 2017, Pheulpin received the Grand Prix de la Création – Fine Crafts Category – from the Council of Paris, after which the exhibition “Within the Folds” at the Chapelle Expiatoire in Paris was dedicated. The Loewe Foundation also granted her a Special Mention in the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize.

Simone Pheulpin, Éclosion Épingles, 2019
D. 15 cm
© MAD, Paris / Christophe Dellière © Adagp, Paris, 2021

It is her complete mastery of sculptural work that enables Simone Pheulpin to transform a simple material – bands of raw cotton – into artworks that recreate in turn coral, shell, moss, bark, fossilized stone, or even ivory, reflecting the many materials, textures, or patterns by which the artist was inspired. With a single, monochrome material, her work opens on infinite possibilities of shapes and volumes. For the artist, this long, minute process of folding, stacking, and tensioning, constitutes a form of meditation. Hiding the internal structure of entwined pins that support the sculptures, the unbleached fabric shows but an organic trompe-l’oeil.

Simone Pheulpin, Croissance III, 2015
D. 70 cm
© Antoine Lippens © Adagp, Paris, 2021

Presented within the historic collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Pheulpin’s creations will be placed in the 18th century, Art nouveau and Art déco rooms. These contemporary artworks open a dialogue with the 18th century lacquered panels and furniture, as well as the interior design by Louis Majorelle (1859-1926) and Jeanne Lanvin’s apartments, designed by decorator Armand-Albert Rateau (1920).

In the continuity of the exhibition “Un Printemps Incertain : invitation à quarante créateurs” (2021) this retrospective exhibition shines a new light on both contemporary creation and the museum’s collections, placing timeless artworks in its period rooms.

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