Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yona Friedman 1001 nuits + 1 jour

mfc-michèle didier

Yona Friedman
1001 nuits + 1 jour

Exhibition of the book 1001 nuits + 1 jour by Yona Friedman 
and of Demonstration #6 by A Dog Republic

June 6 - August 9, 2014

Thursday June 5, 2014, from 6 to 9 pm

 Yona Friedman, 1001 nuits + 1 jour, drawing excerpted from the chapter MythesIsis et Osiris

Animaux, Mythes, Villes, Contes nègres, Fragments, Miracles are the six revealing titles of the leading chapters of Yona Friedman’s illustrated tale 1001 nuits + 1 jour (litteraly: 1001 nights + 1 day), a new artist’s book produced and published by mfc-michèle didier this Spring 2014.

The drawings in 1001 nuits + 1 jour originally covered the walls of the architect’s first Parisian studio, on boulevard Pasteur. This decor designed in the 1960’s, was taken apart in 1968 when Friedman left the studio on boulevard Pasteur for his (now famous) apartment on boulevard Garibaldi. 168 drawings of them all are reproduced today in the artist’s book 1001 nuits + 1 jour. As for the new mural pattern of boulevard Garibaldi, a true “merzbau” of the 21st Century, it is now part of the CNAP collections.

 Yona Friedman, 1001 nuits + 1 jour, drawing excerpted from the chapter VillesLa Seine à Paris

Caroline Cros underlines «The question of decor is fundamental in Friedman’s case (...) he does not conceive architecture without the design of its decoration»*. It is thus impossible for him to visualize his studio with empty walls, «what counts the most for him is to personalize his living space» she continues. «...I have created my own world, in order to assimilate my lifestyle. I am convinced that everyone can do so» Yona Friedman confirms. This idea that each individual is responsible for the enhancement of his/her environment by being himself the subject of its evolution underlies all of Friedman’s thought process. He elaborated further on this principle in the manual A better life in towns, commissioned by the European Council in 1980 for a campaign on renewing the cities.

 Yona Friedman, 1001 nuits + 1 jour, drawing excerpted from the chapter Contes NègresAnnalya Tou Bari

This is exactly what the architect focuses on in this book. He offers each of us the possibility to recreate the display with the drawings from his studio on boulevard Pasteur on our own walls. Indeed, all the drawings in 1001 nuits + 1 jour are detachable and can therefore recreate a decor. Depending on how they are laid out, new associations are born and new stories can be told. It is also possible to put the drawings back in the position in the book, where they were initially. Today, the colour of the drawings have faded slightly under the sunlight and the architect’s eye, only the most resistant pigments are left unchanged. We can only guess the initial rich variety of hues chosen by Friedman.

 Yona Friedman, 1001 nuits + 1 jour, drawing excerpted from the chapter AnimauxUn malentendu: le lion ne veut que l’amour mais il fait peur

The studio on boulevard Pasteur was small, its surface measuring 27m², but Yona Friedman’s imagination knew no boundaries. He broke free of this restrictive reality to reach other places drawn up by himself: places in which he would have liked to live – in Atlantis or in an oasis without desert (in reference to the title of the images, Atlantis and Oasis sans désert) – or with the delicious company of women, his girlfriends’ girlfriends, «les amies de mes amies», as the artists writes... Friedman also escapes by illustrating legends and made-up tales, twisted or readapted to his liking as we can see in the stories of Samba Gana à Ségou or that of saint Georges who Friedman confronts to a crocodile instead of a dragon. The book consists of 168 drawing-scenes illustrated in a « naïve » manner, his distinctive style that can be found equally in his animated film Les aventures de cheveux lion**. The African influence shows in his drawings as well as in his choice of subjects, although Yona Friedman does include the adventures of Don Quijote in the chapter Contes nègres. Such mixing of genres reflects the freedom of thought that the artist cherishes so. Myths merge with each other, the centaur meets Adam and Eve, Noah and Gilgamesh both face lions. In Friedman’s world as it is depicted in 1001 nuits + 1 jour, the traditional order of things is mixed up, the hunter and the rhinoceros chat with each other and the lion wants nothing but love, but he’s scary (in reference to the image entitled le lion ne veut que l’amour, mais il fait peur). As for Men, they return to their animal state. In accordance with the architect’s classification, the lovers outside the city (Les amants hors de la ville) and many others, take place next to the bulls, the horses and the birds, which are in turn associated with other legendary images: a lesson of synchretism and of equality offered once more by Yona Friedman.

* Excerpts of Caroline Cros’ text written in the context of the exhibition Yona Friedman, des Utopies réalisées at Espace de l’Art Concret, centre d’art contemporain at Mouans-Sartoux in 2010. 
** Yona Friedman’s animated films have been restaured in 2008 by the cneai.

 Sharing bones, of which 1001 nuits + 1 jour is part A Dog Republic, Demonstration #6 

The idea of this sixth proposal by A Dog Republic at mfc-michèle didier gallery is to create a demonstration that represents best the process generated by the ideas and the work of the architect Yona Friedman, as viewed by the members of A Dog Republic. Through an evolving program, the elements presented at the gallery will gradually reveal all the aspects of Yona Friedman’s architectural practice.

The exhibition will consist of three elements: the prototype of a virgin forest imagined by Yona Friedman for his appartment in Boulevard Garibaldi, the model of the Tree Museum, one of the architects’ projects that was never realized, and the artist's book 1001 nuits + 1 jour. Furthermore, the drawings of 1001 nuits + 1 jour will be detached from the book and placed on the branches of the reconstructed forest. 

All along during the exhibition, several proposals will punctuate this first project. Several  eclectic proposals will follow each week, each adressing the question in view of another discipline. We will keep you informed of the exact program in due time.

Your presence will be most welcome.

For more information on the exhibition, please click here.

We are, of course, more than happy to answer your questions by email at the address info@micheledidier.com or by telephone at +33 1 71 97 49 13.


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