Three young artists currently defining the next generation of contemporary collectible design will take over Carpenters Workshop Gallery Los Angeles. The show runs September 20th through October 28th.
Harry Nuriev, Martin Laforêt and Léa Mestres will open concurrent solo shows in the L.A. space on 20th September, entitled Denim House , Variations and Family Business respectively. Although presented separately, the exhibitions provide a cohesive look at the talents of the three artists, with each combining a technical exploration of unusual materials with deeply personal methodologies.
Harry Nuriev, Martin Laforêt and Léa Mestres are united in their ability to create immersive sculptural environments, working far beyond traditional means of expression. In recent years, all three have received widespread praise for exhibitions in Europe and at global art fairs. These include Nuriev’s solo show Denim at Carpenters Workshop Gallery Paris, Mestres’ leading role in The New Guard exhibition as part of Carpenters’ Next Gen series, and Laforêt’s standout debut presentation at PAD Paris 2022. Following these collective successes, the trio will now be introduced to the U.S. west coast ready to illustrate the directions in which they will soon be leading the art world.
Each artist’s highly alternative designs are very distinct from one another and are presented as such, with the three parallel shows emphasising the vision of each individual. It is left to the audience to explore the interrelations between shows and navigate their contemporary impact for themselves.
Harry Nuriev presents Denim House, a total environment that merges a luxurious lifestyle with function and expression. Denim House realises Nuriev’s dreams of an idealised family room, set within the domestic culture the artist sees as particular to Los Angeles. Following his previous show Denim, he has dived deeper into the nuances of denim as a statement material, and has embellished the artworks for this exhibition with hand-embroidered writing, additional stickers, and extra furnishings such as the new dining table cloth.
Nuriev’s designs are modular, able to be rearranged in line with their user’s needs or mood. This universality is also manifested in his choice of material, given denim’s societal pervasiveness. The artist is a pioneer of transformism, a manifesto that overlaps aspects of fashion, art and architecture simultaneously. Through this collection, Nuriev intends to enable the same levels of personal expression as seen in street fashion within a home environment.
A selection of Martin Laforêt’s material driven Mould/Cast and Variations collections are exhibited in his show Variations, paying homage to the levity and charisma he conjures from concrete, his material of choice. Laforêt’s solo booth at PAD Paris last year took the French capital by storm, demonstrating his methodological means of assembling purified structures from ‘poor’ materials such as concrete or lumber. In line with the principles of arte povera, Laforêt considers his creative gesture as more important than the final objective artwork, elevating humble materials beyond sight of their origins.
Laforêt’s Mould/Cast series consists of concrete elements combined with the wooden moulds from which they were cast. The concrete is seen as the positive form and the mould its negative, but both are united again and become one with each being the imprint of the other. Variations, on the other hand, comprises a series of chairs featuring a standardised central element in cast concrete. From this starting point
Laforêt elaborates with a variety of casting techniques to create individual forms, bringing tangibly different life to each work. Aided by the imperfections of casting, this creates a series of works that are inherently unique.
To stand among Léa Mestres’ outsized sculptures is to journey through the looking glass and enter a world of the French artist’s colourful imagination. Her show Family Business is reminiscent of Carsten Holler ’s rooms filled with giant mushrooms, or Nikki de Saint Phalle’s iconic Tarot Garden in Italy.
Mestres draws from a wide range of popular culture, from the absolute pink of fashion designer Valentino to rapper Missy Elliot’s music videos, condensing this vivid imagery into the textured columns of her sculptures which also reference crépi, a rough concrete plaster ubiquitous across France and Europe. Highly research driven, Mestres counters notions of ‘feminine art’, ignoring expectations, re-appropriating stereotypes and prioritising joy in her work at all costs. Named after friends of hers, Mestres’ three towering artworks Stacy, Suzy and Jessy are all personified as larger-than-life characters.