Opening September 13, 2017, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) in Philadelphia will present Nathalie Du Pasquier: BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT, a retrospective exploring the prolific creative practice of the artist and designer. A founding member of the Italian design collective Memphis, Du Pasquier’s work across painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, and design demonstrates a unique and considered interpretation of space and objects.
Featuring more than 100 works spanning from the early 1980s to the present, including a number of new and never-before-seen pieces, the exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia juxtaposes graphic patterns with abstracted, figurative paintings. The fully immersive environment underscores the artist’s systematic dismantling of the hierarchy between design and fine art and between three-dimensional form and two-dimensional representation.
On view through December 23, Nathalie Du Pasquier: BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT will provide an all-encompassing experience of Du Pasquier’s aesthetic, organized in close coordination with the artist to demonstrate the seamless boundaries between functional and decorative objects in Du Pasquier’s practice. Across the space, still-life paintings depicting everyday objects and formal explorations will be installed against a backdrop of Du Pasquier’s wallpaper designs, juxtaposed with the sculptures, textiles, and design objects that inspire her work in painting and illuminate her iterative process of creation.
As conceived by Du Pasquier, the exhibition is installed as a kind of city, within which the different rooms can be seen as buildings that focus on various aspects of her thinking and creative process. Throughout the exhibition, pieces from decidedly different periods of Du Pasquier’s artistic production are experienced in a singular installation created by the artist. Highlights of the exhibition include:
• Paintings: Since 1987 painting has been the main focus of the artist’s practice. The early works demonstrate a more surreal and fantastic figurative style that has evolved into a rigorous investigation of the objects that populate the artist’s everyday experience. Over the years Du Pasquier has developed a unique formal language in which her abstract paintings play off of her sensitive consideration of bottles, glassware, and other materials of domestic life.
• Drawings: A range of drawings segue between the language of architecture, design, and sketches of her recognizable forms. Of note are designs for some of her iconic textiles patterns.
• Sculptures: The bottles that populate Du Pasquier’s paintings are also interpreted as brightly colored porcelain sculptures that seem to defy their delicate nature and quotidian function. Likewise, her formal explorations become large-scale rough constructions.
• Design objects: In recent years, Du Pasquier has occasionally produced patterns—sometimes in collaboration with her partner, the industrial designer George Sowden. The exhibition will feature some of her recent wallpaper patterns, which connect back in spirit with the textile works of her Memphis period. Although Du Pasquier has moved away from being a full-time designer, her early involvement with the Italian design group, Memphis, continues to inspire. In addition to Memphis carpets and textile patterns designed by Du Pasquier, the exhibition will feature a rare and important piece of furniture sculpture, Emerald (1985).
• Installation: In recent years, Du Pasquier has explored installation. The show will feature a new monochrome installation with a collaborative sound work produced with the musician Steve Piccolo and recorded in the artist’s studio.
ABOUT NATHALIE DU PASQUIER
Nathalie Du Pasquier was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1957 and has lived in Milan since 1979. She worked as a designer until 1986 and was a founding member of Memphis. Throughout her career, she has designed numerous decorated surfaces, including textiles, carpets, plastic laminates, and some furniture and objects. Painting has been her primary activity since 1987.