BY Nairy Baghramian in Profiles | 17 JAN 11

Janette Laverrière

Interior architect & designer, 29 December 1909–1 January 2011

BY Nairy Baghramian in Profiles | 17 JAN 11

In 2009, Janette Laverrière recalled in an interview published in frieze: ‘So there I was in bed, thinking: I am not going to do anything useful anymore, I do not want to, I cannot, so I will do useless things. All of sudden, a new world opened up for me.’ This was after 70 years of pouring her ideas and political convictions into functional designs such as Cabinet de travail d’une femme d’ambassadeur (Work Desk for an Ambassador’s Wife, 1956) – a piece that makes clear that it’s not just the husband who might need a well-designed writing desk that has secret drawers for love letters – and was the starting point for her last group of works since 2001.



Under the title Evocation she set about transforming people and stories – Jean Cocteau, Dorian Gray, La commune (hommage à Louise Michel) (2001) or the smile of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland – into a series of mirror sculptures. Her last idea – a mirror inspired by Rosa Luxemburg – sadly only made it to the model stage. But last year I remember the moment when she finally received from the workshop her finished Martin Luther King sculpture. She had been thinking about that work for quite a while, since around the time of the election of President Obama. Looking at the work she uttered her favourite sentence, one which she always used in our many intense and amusing conversations: ‘Thank God – who doesn’t exist!’ She found it wonderful that Obama had won the elections without a Bible in his hand.



Nairy Baghramian lives in Berlin, Germany. Earlier this year, she had a solo presentation at the SMK, National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, and her work was included in a group show at Malmö Konsthall, Sweden. Her solo exhibition at Palacio de Cristal, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain, runs until 14 October. She will contribute new works to the Festival d’Automne in Paris, France, which runs from 13 October to 6 January 2019. Her sculptures are also included in group shows at Secession and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria, until 11 November.