2011 – morningMist, first solo show of Benjamin Graindorge at YMER & MALTA – 2011

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  • September 26, 2011

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morningMist was the French designer Benjamin Graindorge’s first solo exhibition. MorningMist is clearly influenced by a Japanese aesthetic and Zen philosophy, and is a reflection on the theme of shape and light, an emotional material.

The five pieces highlight the designer’s specific style. The constant sense of quest and high emotional standards can very much be seen as a “signature”.

“I feel that my thought processes tend to feed off the contemplation of an image, of its details and finesse. I spend ages looking, observing and waiting for the infinitesimal event that will make some sense to me. Then I bring together my intuitions and observations. And finally, I draw. Every approach seems to me to be fragile. In the beginning, they can’t undergo any form of interrogation. Then they grow and strengthen each other to eventually result in a finished project. My approach to creation is based on this assembly. I don’t create, I assemble.”

Valérie Maltaverne, the founder of YMER&MALTA gave Benjamin Graindorge carte blanche to let his imagination go wild and express all of the poetic nuances of his creative universe in formal terms. Each piece for the exhibition is made through a long and fruitful collaborative process with a master French artisan.


Excerpt from the preface by Olivier Gabet, Director of the Museums of Decorative Arts in Paris, to the catalogue morningMist by Benjamin Graindorge – 2013 – YMER&MALTA editions

“Since 2007, Benjamin Graindorge has risked signing his own name. In less than seven years, he has put together a real body of work in a subtle and intelligent continuum where the art of variations on the same themes is sketched, providing an overall density and maturity – what is indeed a signature.

Of course, lines, materials and shapes flirt with the vegetal, mineral, animal, but Benjamin Graindorge knows how to avoid a cliché: very early on, he went beyond the source to be himself. He is never literal; a cloud of glass balls lights up like the sun breaking through the mist on a country landscape, his MorningMist lamp (2011), a piece of unspeakable poetry. He is never reduced to right-on ecological thinking; a pared down bench made from oak and glass finishes as a branch of a tree, his now iconic Fallen Tree (2011). This also gives his work its own grace: Benjamin Graindorge always spares us the heavy proselytising, the conceptual analysis. Instead he delivers his objects devoid of gravity, he gives them to be seen and touched with a form of intuitive, sensual immediacy. Are we talking about atmospheric design, drawing an aerial landscape, like that of the shelves of the StillQuietPlane or the AsphericalSkylight lamp? Yes, that is possible, but not all: Graindorge also knows how to dock in material reality, that of marble and leather. Or the mineral landscapes of his Carrara marble trays, be they transparent and veined or black and polished, like SweetHorizon’s stratified and striated dunes, almost moving, as though a simple breeze was enough to make the most noble of stones ripple. This work on marble as a subtle landscape appears as the matrix underlying the two ambitious pieces illustrated in this book, the cornerstones of the 2012 “À fleur de peau” show: a seat and a table, where the wood underlines the graphic sparseness and becomes a pretext for variable and removable leather compositions, composing and recomposing an infinitely horizontal landscape.

(…) We would also like to hear him cite the names of people and artists, traces of whose work we enjoy finding here and there, whether intended or not: Edward Godwin, the genius Victorian who instilled his graphically radical but elegant furniture with poetry and dreams, a certain Japanese influence that overtook England in the 1870s; Frank Lloyd Wright, who was bold enough to insert constructions and objects in the vegetal and mineral environment; Greene and Greene who played with nature and a certain American primitivism to present the California of turn of the century with its first Golden Age. Graindorge would be in good company with them. In his own way, he keeps the dream alive.”