This sublime exhibition is just round the corner from Paris Photo. Entitled Hermès à tire-d’aile—Les mondes de Leïla Menchari [ Swift winged Hermes —The worlds of Leïla Menchari], it is held at the Grand Palais in Paris until December 3, 2017. “paint your dreams,” Annie Beaumel, the head of window displays at Hermès, asked the decorator Leïla Menchari when they met at the company’s historical headquarters at 24, Faubourg Saint-Honoré. This was 1961, and Leïla Menchari had just graduated from the school of fine arts in Paris, after having studied visual arts in Tunis, her hometown. Her collaboration with Hermès took off. From 1978 to 2013, she would imagine, draw, and fashion window displays for the Parisian luxury designer, while at the same time chairing the Silk Color Committee. The exhibition presents eight scenes staged by the architect Nathalie Crinière, allowing visitors to (re)discover the amazing, visionary worlds of Leïla Menchari. While materials are the guiding thread of this exhibition, tying together the artist’s enchanting décors, each of the eight tableaus first and foremost tells a story. For Leïla Menchari is a storyteller: teller of dreams and narrator of her creations with exceptional artists and artisans at Hermès, in Tunisia, and elsewhere, whom she met during her extensive travels: painters, sculptors, leather craftsmen, mat makers, mosaicists, stonecutters, glass artists… Many are those who assisted the artist in achieving the excellence of the objects and décors of her astonishing, chimerical, luxuriant window displays. “I’ve always wanted everything to be authentic, sincere,” she said. “I can be surrealistic sometimes, I love that, but always with down-to-earth objects, things that people can recognize. The scene must be at once unexpected, unusual, surprising, and speak to the passerby.” A book publication, Leïla Menchari: La Reine Mage is also released in November, co-edited with Actes Sud, a publisher from Arles and a long-time collaborator of Hermès.
Book publication by Actes Sud:
Grand Palais—Galerie Sud
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower 75008 Paris France
November 08, 2017 to December 03, 2017