The Early Career of Designer Martin Szekely

On 28 January 2021, by Oscar Duboÿ

Rémi Gerbeau and Jean-Philippe Mercier staged a real exhibition for enthusiasts, in Paris, where nothing involved purely commercial considerations.

© Rémi Gerbeau Design - Mercier & Associés/Photo Rémi Gerbeau

Skillfully staged by Bruno Rousseaud, some pieces are on loan, and others are relatively unknown and somewhat surprising, given the minimalist aesthetics that made the Franco-Hungarian designer so successful. At any rate, most of these items of furniture are definite rarities. Instead of merely selecting the usual array of the artist's "hits", this exhibition features the first three collections and a few commissions. For instance, the famous Pi range (1982-1985) in lacquered metal is presented in its entirety, providing a speaking picture of its materials, line and balance, and the luxury of comparing the famous chaise longue with its prototype, whose foot still touches the floor. The range culminates in the iconic Carbone chair, where he experimented with carbon fiber. Then it was the turn of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) to gain a pedigree. It was treated like solid wood and then varnished for the Containers collection (1987): a range of almost totemic storage furniture giving this material a noble look very different from its usual appearance. Little by little, you form the impression that Szekely always does what you least expect... As witness the Pour faire salon range (1989), also astonishing for the generous, almost bourgeois roundness of its low chairs and chaise longue in their blazing red or yellow velvet. He constantly developed an unfailing curiosity, exploring all fields of creation and providing truly original answers. Well-worth mentioning is a real feat in terms of balance, with the Hérouville three-legged chair set dreamed up for the Comédie de Caen in 1990. When you think that all this was just the beginning... 

Galerie Mercier & Associés, Paris XXe.
Until February 27, 2021.
www.mercieretassocies.com
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