With “Domestic Ponds” at the galerie BSL, Duende Studio ends its cycle of research about domestic water features which began in 2008 with “Local River” in tandem with Mathieu Lehanneur. This cycle is the most vernacular part of a wider fascination for living objects in a literal sense, that is objects which use or manipulate living organisms, of which the exhibition “Eden ADN, genetic design” lay the basis in 2006 at the St Etienne Biennial. The aquarium, connected here to a purifying garden, is both the perfect metaphor of our human condition stuck in a frighteningly finite world and an object paradoxically judged as very has been, reserved for aficionados of aquatic maintenance. With these three new pieces conceived with Mathieu Lehanneur, Benjamin Graindorge and Eric Jourdan, “Domestic Ponds” therefore proposes a new aesthetic, practical and metaphorical vision of the aquarium from 17th September to 27th November 2010 at the galerie BSL.


For this first limited edition by the galerie BSL, three avenues were explored to break with the formal conventions of the aquarium and to best integrate constraints permitting minimal maintenance. With Mathieu Lehanneur the different technical and plastic elements literally explode into space. “Fontaine” proposes a fragmented and pedagogical version of the system with its three distinct and separate typologies: the aquarium, the sand filter and the plant pot. The water’s course thus becomes clear for the neophyte: drawn from the aquarium, filtered by the sand before flowing into the plant tub, to return to the aquarium purified. Three stages, three pieces and three archetypal materials: glass, terra cotta and ceramic bear a precise design, bound to its vital minimum, keeping the system on the border between ultra functionalism and magic. Definitely the most innovative vision of the aquarium proposed in the exhibition.


With “Castle”, Eric Jourdan was responsible for confronting the most literal vision of the aquarium like a domestic pond, that is to say a water feature swarming with life, “an open air uterus,” that the spectator/user will consume not like a television screen, but like a lake with the walker’s view point at the water’s edge. “Castle” is thus a simple, enamelled ceramic moat with its water tower integrating plants and sand. A basin embedded with a purifying tower with lines simplified by Eric Jourdan’s immediately recognisable touch, which Duende is very proud to bring to fruition with this first collaboration.


With “Liquid Garden”, Benjamin Graindorge was finally responsible for confronting blown glass to best blend the two traditional codes of the domestic water feature: the aquarium and the vase. “Liquid Garden” therefore transforms the pond into a translucent extravagance, a garden/laboratory enchanted by Benjamin’s colour and design who still refuses to give in to the material. The different sized vases/pots of flowers pile up into an equally random and precise landscape, a small mountain of glass hand blown by Matteo Gonet, surmounting the aquarium’s traditional rectangle, but backlit and coloured at the client’s request, with a valued result, neo dandy eschewing a bizarre bio period, dedicated to the Des Esseintes of the 21st century longing for living artificiality.


Previous articleOverdimensioned ignorance Next articleArchitectural photography with a soul