Unique one-of-a-kind pieces, the embroidered birds are hand crafted in our atelier. The process of transfiguration of each bird takes hundreds of hours of work, painstakingly layering the intricate artificial plumage.
These avian sculptures are about fixing a moment, similar to what the Japanese call the Mu, an instant that is so close to nothing that it becomes everything.
The embroidered birds sculptures were exhibited at:
The Museum of Art & Industry Saint-Etienne, France
Triennale Design museum, Milan, Italy.
MUDAM Museum of Modern Art, Luxembourg
Galerie des Gobelins / Mobilier National, Paris, France
One of the bird sculptures, a white snowy owl, was chosen for the Elysée Palace collection.
Through these very personal pieces Maurizio Galante & Tal Lancman bring together their research as couturier, designer, and collectors. The series of Embroidered Bird Sculptures, divided in two parts; diurnal and nocturnal species, originated in the 2000s during a visit to the German porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg and the discovery of a porcelain sculpture of a barn owl. A discovery that left them somewhat perplexed: the object was beautiful, but the material felt too massive, failing to convey the lightness of the bird’s plumage. Something remained to be done.
If animals are a recurring theme in the passions of MG&TL, it is in their transfiguration by the originality of singular beauty. The meeting of one thing and its opposite, the fusion of heterogeneous influences, such as the Italian artists Carlo Carra and Ligabue, one simple and elegant, the other baroque and unbounded, untied in the preferences of MG&TL, who have a taste for cultural mingling.
Exploring their numerous collections, we discover more than one hundred Kaiju figurines, (Japanese monsters), or a series of carpets whose common trait is a central figure of wildcat or game, including three Egyptian sphinx, wandering in their elegant strangeness. MG&TL have however separated from their collection of animal skulls, (elephant and rhinoceros), believing their natural deterioration a form of “artistic treason”.
“We believed them permanent, but the teeth are broken. We prefer the dancers of Degas, in bronze, dressed in real tutus, whose wear is a living history, prompting me to imagine how they were when Degas dressed them.”
So this is about fixing a moment, similar to what the Japanese call the mu, an instant that is so close to nothing that it becomes everything.
So this owl, judged ‘too wise’ in its original aspect, is found transfigured after 150 hours of work, covered in a coat of artificial plumage. “…When the bird preens, or when it dies, it swells, the muscles seem to lost control of the plumage in an instant where the animal finds itself at once feeble and very voluminous.” This is what renders a volatile avian appearance to the dense porcelain sculpture once it’s conceived, covered with feathers.
Unlike the naïve and rather morbid process of taxidermy seeking to resurrect a dead animal, here the false is assumed, proclaimed: a porcelain animal, fabric feathers, and a base evoking inverted dishes used as a distancing instrument, all defy the laws of nature. The chosen birds, purchased from antique dealers, come from northern European manufacturers, (Germany, Italy, or Denmark), their size should correspond to the bird’s actual size, and the sculpture should be frozen in a posture that is emblematic of its species.
It is then coated with a layer composed of thousands of fabric pieces that constitute the bird’s plumage. Each feather is composed of 6 elements of silk organza, between which tiny glass beads are installed, separating the fabric elements to produce a voluminous effect.
Finally the animal is assembled onto a base comprised of a plate and bell-shaped cover. The simplicity of the base edges, not without humour, with the sophistication of the animal, finalizing each of the pieces while connecting them to each other, unified in an equivalent completion; a series.