Location: Gallery FUMI, London
This October Gallery FUMI will present an exhibition of eight new one-off and limited edition hand-made works by French sculptor Thomas Lemut (b.1961). The exhibition will take place in their stunning off-site project space, situated in the artistic hub of Hoxton Square, during ‘Frieze Week’ one of the most important weeks for contemporary art in London. This will be the first time Lemut’s works have been exhibited in London. The artist, who works primarily with metals, describes himself as a ‘sculptor of functional objects’. He takes his inspiration from mid 20th century French designers, including Jean Prouvé and Pierre Chareau. Like them his collaboration as an artist with highly skilled craftsmen is an important element. Working from his atelier outside of Paris, Lemut works closely with them to carefully select materials which have a high aesthetic value, choosing to mechanically assemble rather than weld his pieces together. It is his considered choice of materials and method which dictates the form of his objects, developing works which are both beautiful and functional. Defying gravity, a footless lamp which appears to hang effortlessly, suspended between the floor and the ceiling, and a carefully constructed armchair created from 51 individual pieces of metal and 4 pieces of leather will feature in the exhibition. Lemut has also created a multi functional book shelf which transforms into a screen; made out of three pieces, the book shelf/screen can be displayed separately or as a whole. Other works in the show will include stools, an ebony coffee table and a dining table made from Indian rosewood. The works will be displayed in the special surroundings of a former 19th century school gym, with 16ft high ceilings and sliding wooden doors.
Before focusing on furniture, Lemut’s practice spanned photography, drawing and sculpture. His furniture designs were originally developed to serve as frames for his intricate paper works. This resulted in the production of objects that were intimately associated with his drawings; Tables emerged with tiny boxes hidden in their centre, containing drawings. Lemut explains “I added functionality as a matter of sculpture, not because I necessarily wanted to do furniture.”