Word Play: Hermès Home’s ModernMantra window display challenges the dimensional conventions of text and images

Are words merely words? Or can they be made into something that you can touch and feel? Thomas Broomé’ explored the depths of words and how they can be used to create meaningful pieces for the home in his Hermès Home installation.

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Installation: ModernMantra for Hermès Home | Artist: Thomas Broomé | Location: Hermès Liat Towers, Singapore | Photos: Hermès

The idea of “home” served as the key inspiration for contemporary Swedish artist Thomas Broomé’s poetically-charged installation called ModernMantra for Hermès Home at the Hermès Liat Towers in Singapore. In this installation, Broomé explored how calligrams can be turned into sculptural visuals via transforming text into form and breaking down forms into text.

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“Here we find my drawings with words, somewhere in between the description and the drawing. They are both and neither, an amalgam, something else. I was influenced by calligrams by Apollinaire and the French poets. When I get engulfed in an idea, it continues and continues. I guess it’s good to be manic as I am, as an artist, but it’s not good in ordinary life. But when you’re doing your work it’s good to have that side to it but sometimes it goes a bit too far. In the beginning I was drawing everything with pencil, it took 3 weeks or something to do.” – Thomas Broomé

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”I am interested in environments both public and private and how they are a kind of auto portrait of ourselves and the society we live in.”

Through the art and technology of 3D printing, Broomé manifested a series of three-dimensional text and then artistically created furniture from the different words. For instance, “CHAIR” was done in repetition to express Hermès’ emblematic Pippa folding chair, while the word “VALET” captured the silhouette of the Hermès home valet.

“It is about the perception and the difference between what we know and what we see – and how sometimes the two are confused in our perception of things. When the word is the image and the image is the word, it fuses into something new that is both image or word i.e. both experience and what we see,” said Broomé.

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“There are so many ideas in the piece. It’s not only the idea, it’s how you make it, it’s what you think about when you make it. I also think it’s a very direct thing to work with my hands – I also evolve with the piece. So I don’t use that many assistants because 75 per cent of the fun is to make it because I get surprised as everyone else when it comes out – I can hang out and meet the piece, and we can have a conversation in a way.”

Other home items including tables, shelves, carpets and steps were also transformed into two- and three-dimensional pieces. “Beyond a mere play on words, ModernMantra (Hermès Home) exists on the borders of what we agree is real,” the brand stated.

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“The windows are an unexpected meeting of my world and the world of Hermès, almost like two acquaintances stopping to say hello and suddenly finding themselves engulfed in a stimulating conversation. They give something to each other I think.”

ModernMantra (Hermès Home) is a series of artistic window displays specially commissioned to guest artists around the world. Thomas Broomé’s installation was first displayed on 23 August 2016 and will continue until 7 December 2016.

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