Graduated from the National School of Arts in Paris-Cergy in 2006, plastic artist Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann explores the question of the domestic in her work, emphasizing through sculptures, performances, texts and video its social and political dimensions. Whether she is exhibiting at the Palais de Tokyo or in the Louis Carré house built by Alvar Aalto, the winner of the 2017 Aware Prize (which rewards women artists) works in the fields of architecture and design. A pioneer in this field, Charlotte Perriand is one of the key figures in her thinking.
Charlotte Perriand has haunted your work for nearly ten years. How did you find out?
When I was a child, in the mid-1980s, my grandparents took me to ski in Méribel, where Charlotte Perriand lived for a long time, and where she created the resort of Les Arcs. Without realizing it, I must have been permeated by all the furniture she designed there.
At the time, Perriand was still completely in the shadows, silenced by a very masculine art history. There was nothing special to pick up, to sit on her big rustic chairs. And yet, these experiences have shaped me, they have certainly nourished the observations on the domestic space which, since, cross my work. It is only recently that I have been able to understand this familiarity; she came back to me in flashes, when I discovered her career, twenty-five years later.
It was during a personal exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo that you came across her again. By what means?
In 2010, for the collective exhibition Dynasty, I had worked on the past of this institution, in particular on the period of the Occupation during which the palace was used as storage for the large pieces of furniture stolen from the Jews, in particular the pianos. When I was invited again two years later, I sought to extend this research, and looked into the time when this site housed the National Museum of Modern Art, in the 1960s. I then discovered that Jean Cassou, its director, had ordered from Perriand around forty Tokyo benches, and a large reception desk.
I made a very dense investigation to find these objects which had almost all disappeared. I thus unearthed the reception terminal, buried in the basements of the Musée de la Porte Dorée and poorly listed; it is the one that was shown in 2019 in its retrospective at the Vuitton Foundation. A bench is in the Mobilier national, sacred, and eight others in the Louvre, to which the Center Pompidou bequeathed them. This research was the starting point of my installation, for which I wrote a letter to Charlotte Perriand and Maurice Besset (the curator who invited her), but also of a whole trajectory of thought.
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