Pierre Casenove ceramics go on show at Arles’ Villa Benkemoun
‘Coincidences’ by Pierre Casenove at the Villa Benkemoun (28 May-8 June 2021) is a new exhibition presenting the charming sculptural designs of the French ceramicist against the impressive 1970s backdrop of the house in Arles, Provence
The work of French ceramicist Pierre Casenove goes on show at Arles’ Villa Benkemoun, a 1970s piece of architecture by Emile Sala. Presenting a collection of sculptural work, large vases, lamps, and ceramic totems, the exhibition is titled ‘Coincidences’, referring to the lucky encounter between the villa’s owner, Brigitte Benkemoun, and Casenove. The name also reflects the unpredictability of clay, and the often unexpected results that Casenove’s work has produced.
‘Coincidences’: Pierre Casenove at Villa Benkemoun
‘Potters know that everything is possible in an oven,’ he says. ‘If you put a simple clay pot in an oven and you see branches and leaves grow during the firing, you’ll be the only one surprised!’ Much of his ceramic work is led by random outcomes: while part of his output comprises gold-plated objects featuring anthropomorphic or zoomorphic forms, his clay production is more abstract.
For his ceramics, Casenove finds inspiration in Japanese aesthetics, favouring imperfection and discretion. To create the pieces, he works from his Jura workshop using a Japanese wood-fired oven, a tool which, he explains, allows him to explore different raw stoneware palettes.
The exhibition is presented inside the airy spaces of the villa, its distinctive design offering a charming contrast to the earthy work of the ceramicist. Architect Emile Sala was commissioned by Algerian couple Simone and Pierre Benkemoun in the early 1970s, to design a villa that was ‘transparent and open’. Featuring flowing, curved silhouettes and shifting perspectives, the villa has been restored by their daughter, Brigitte, and Thierry Demaizière, who transformed the venue into an art and cultural destination, regularly hosting the work of artists and designers.
As part of the exhibition, a rare collection of ceramic tableware and unique pieces by Casenove will concurrently be on sale at the nearby lifestyle boutique, Moustique. §