Jean-Jacques Argueyrolles, rust and gold

Argueyrolles, designer of furniture and decoration ... all in metal and gold.


Is Jean-Jacques Argueyrolles (1954) just a sculptor? a furniture sculptor? a designer? a gilder? a blacksmith ? a junkyard? All of this at the same time and then, basically, we don't care. What particularly interests us here is the way he combines gold and metal in his furniture. Furniture that he develops in parallel with a sculpture activity in his current workshop in Nègrepelisse (82).


Self-taught, and quite proud of it, Jean-Jacques Argueyrolles learned about sculpture in a neighborhood workshop. Iron first, then bronze, as well as photography. This artistic approach, coupled with a passion for travel (the Argueyrolles family lives half the time in Asia) is reflected in the design and minimalist furniture he creates. Decorator of the Alpha hotel, the Hôtel Pavillon Opéra Grands Boulevards and the 1728 restaurant in Paris (now closed), he creates both monumental abstract sculptures (Pondicherry 2007), as well as more "figurative" sculptures, than fountains. in granite ...


In terms of types of furniture, nothing has escaped him: consoles, wall lights, armchairs (close to thrones), benches, secretaries, sofas, coffee tables, bedside tables, sideboards, radiator covers, vases ... more than evocative names, such as "the winged chair", the "lizard console", the "horn table" or the "buffalo armchair".

Influenced by Tapiès (play of materials and textures), Baroque art, Art Nouveau, the so-called "primitive" arts and of course Asian arts, his art is often described (strangely) as "brutalist". For me it is overflowing with derision, finesse and above all a great sense of observation of humans, their culture and nature.


The metal is there and there: very present, massive but crumpled, twisted, folded, wavy, carved-engraved, raw / polished / patinated. So ... we are constantly in the overturn, especially at the level of the feet. Indeed, what carries, what connects to the ground, is certainly extremely solid / massive, and at the same time slender (like the elephants in the paintings of Dali, or the sculptures of Giacometti): the table legs are hollow / hollowed out. and end in fine points, like the legs of insects. It looks like they will start walking!

For some armchairs-thrones or sofas, the legs could touch the sky and sometimes end in horns. Finally, some dressers, such as Mona Lisa, have eyes that follow us ...

So these metal furniture (therefore out of the ground) seem to me to be literally inhabited, they are animists.


But what is the role of gold (another metal) in this story? Gold is very often present in its furniture and it is interesting to study the refined place it occupies in this game with the brutal iron / bronze (I give you here my feelings, not having found anything written about it. share about it). Sometimes shiny, often patinated, it is used to highlight specific points: the many arrowheads for example, or the different discs.

Likewise, gold is often positioned on the bearing, on the angles and on the edges: it therefore seems to bring extra power and strength to the feet, or depth when they are hollow. Conversely, it can give rhythm to the metal part, by breaking the angles of a console for example.

Gold has a reassuring and comfortable presence by enveloping (as in club and buffalo armchairs), by protecting where the body rests (armrests, backrests, seats) or by "crowning" the heads. It almost looks like he's repairing, that the metal parts are patched up, patched up with pieces of gold.

Gold also brings a touch of humor and an addition of meaning, when it becomes "eyes of dressers".

Sometimes, it also emphasizes the texture of the metal by bringing out its grainy character, or it harmonizes with it by a play of camaieu patinas, or it against its dark side by bringing points of light.

Gold still helps J-J. Argueyrolles to compose real abstract paintings (on coffee tables in particular), it is then a "simple" color.

Finally, to end on the part of the symbolic and the spiritual: how can we not think of the statues of Buddha, and especially of the gold offerings, of these small squares of gold delicately placed in order to pay homage to divinities and of s' attract some kindness?