French artist Le Gentil Garcon’s new work x Hermès
10 April 2017
Occupying the entire space in the main window of Hermès Liat Towers in Singapore is a peculiar art installation that literally gets into people’s head. Inspired by the busts used in the pseudomedical study of phrenology, French artist Le Gentil Garcon’s new work, Smart Objects presents a playful take on the human mind.
The sculpted work looks like a schematic human head compartmentalised into “cells” in a manner of a phrenology map. Each compartment showcases an Hermès object and is sometimes associated with small characters, to evoke the zones of cerebral activity with poetry and humour.
The name of my project refers also to the ‘smart objects’, a name used in drawing software to define virtual objects (lines, points, guides, etc) which possess useful specific properties. ‘Smart Objects’ is also an allusion to the two meanings of the word ‘smart’: cleverness and elegance, that are also at my opinion, two qualities of Hermès products.” – Le Gentil Garcon
The installation depicts the 17th-century mechanist representations of the human mind, which till today is still echoed and even presented in the Pixar animation movie, Inside Out. Besides that, Le Gentil Garcon also drew inspiration from the illustrations of Fritz Kahn a German doctor and popular science writer, who developed creative visualisations to explain complex scientific ideas.
“I realised that this idea of a playful representation of the human mind matched very well with the Hermès theme of this year: Sense of the Object. Any manufactured object is the result of a thought, the materialisation of it. Concerning Hermès products, this thought is both linked to the memory and to the life of the creator of the company, and to an historic know-how. Furthermore, Hermès products often hide very smart and fun tricks that you won’t discover at the first glance (a detail on the back of a tie, a clever clasp mechanism on a bag…).” – Le Gentil Garcon