We Do Not Work Alone

June 01, 2021

The French 'publishing house' opens its inaugural design-art showroom 1 June 2021 in the Marais district of Paris with the exhibition 'Inventory'

Founded in 2015 by Louise Grislain, Anna Klossowski and Charlotte Morel as a ‘publishing house’ for editioned functional design-art objects, We Do Not Work Alone (WDNWA) moves from digital to IRL with a showroom that will be ‘both a shop and a living space’. The inaugural exhibition ‘Inventory’ showcases ‘usual objects’ (in other words ‘everyday’ objects in general use in most homes) that were ‘conceived by artists in limited editions’ since the company was founded. The exhibition presents around fifty functional objects made for ‘everyday’ spaces in the home from the bathroom to the kitchen designed by thirty contemporary artists. All objects are for sale.

Of particular interest to COVER readers are eight small (40x40cm) handwoven wool ‘seat mats’ for wooden chairs designed by eight French artists commissioned by WDNWA and woven by experts at the renowned Kurashiki School of Dyeing and Weaving in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Another textile-related object is Cinema Lekythos by Clément Rodzielski who uses prosaic packing tape rolls as ‘film spool’ for cinematic action. Inspired by the 6th century BCE lekythos vase attributed to the Amasis Painter at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the vase (and tape) features women preparing wool for cloth weaving. 

An enriched understanding of the ethos behind WDNWA is found in the website’s original French language ‘About’ section. Goods are described as ‘objets de la vie quotidienne‘. Artists who collaborate with WDNWA are offered respite from their ‘normal’ (or quotidienne in French) practice to address functionality in the design of objects. This opportunity echoes one of the central tenets of French philosopher Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) who wrote several books critiquing and examining the nature and meaning of ‘la vie quotidienne‘ or the ‘everyday life’ of the human experience. ‘Let everyday life become a work of Art!’ Lefebvre proclaimed in his book Everyday Life In The Modern World (1968), a challenge answered by the WDNWA artists.

Future plans for WDNWA include commissioning site-specific objects for the Marais showroom. Engagement with editors and galleries involved in editions and the decorative arts will encourage WDNWA to grow as ‘a living [space] and exchange place’ for collaborations that will continue to express everyday life as a work of art.

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