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Philippe Weisbecker - Homo Faber

Philippe Weisbecker - Homo Faber

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Published on the occasion of the artist's exhibition "Handmade" at Atelier MUJI Ginza from April 22 to June 26, 2022

This book is a record of a day in the life of Philippe Weisbecker, who is based in Paris. He is known as an artist who draws everyday items and objects around him, and his unique expression is popular in Japan. Recently, his work was used for the wrapping paper of Isetan, which was renewed in 2019, and for the official poster of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In recent years, "Japan as Seen by Philip Weisbecker - Carpentry Tools, Furniture, and Everyday Objects" was held at Takenaka Corporation's "Ekwad" gallery in 2020.

In this book, which traces the source of Philippe Weisbecker's creativity to his home and studio in Paris, we find objects and old tools that he collected at flea markets and on his travels, art materials and tools for his works, and a sketchbook that he kept on hand. The "gray furniture" in which these items are hidden and stored is the underlying theme of this book. We were in charge of planning and editing.

This volume consists of seven chapters plus a short essay at the end of the book.

06:00 - 07:00 Wake up
07:00 - 07:30 Go to the atelier
07:30 - 08:30 Breakfast
08:30 - 10:30 Daily chores
10:30 - 13:00 Production
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 19:00 Production
Afterword: "Assembling the Everyday"

His wife is at home overlooking the Seine River, and he gets up every morning at approximately 6:00 am. He has an atelier about a 30-minute walk away, where he works, and returns home at 7:00 pm. He spends his days in such a regular schedule. He prepares his own breakfast and lunch. As you can see, his home and studio are surrounded by simple gray furniture that he made himself, including stools, storage cabinets, tables, and wall-hanging furniture. He humbly states, "I paint them gray because it is hard to see the defects in the paint," but just looking at them is a comforting experience, and, more importantly, in terms of the relationship between "ground" and "figure," if the works, meals, and old tools he has collected are all set against a gray background, the everyday becomes the work, and the work becomes the everyday. The spirit of "life is work, work is life," as lived literally by Kanjiro Kawai, lives on far away in Paris.

The stools he made himself are uncomfortable to sit on. His friends have criticized it as such, but he still likes it because it is unique to him. In an online conversation with Kaoru Kasai, who wrote the obi, he said, "Simplicity of furniture can lead to tranquility and silence. I was convinced that this is true. For more details of the dialogue, click here.

This book is composed of photographs taken by Toshiaki Miyamoto, who was living in Paris at the time. We were able to include only a few photos, and it was very difficult to reduce the number of photos. The words of the author are also excellent (translation was done by Natsuko Takita, who also manages the company). I particularly like the words she wrote for the "Production" chapter starting at 10:30. It is a bit long, but I will quote it here.

Sometimes they come by themselves,
sometimes they don't come when we ask for them.
There is no limit to the means we can use to lure them out.
Find good paper, use a good ruler,
a good pencil, but nothing happens,
I use my last resort.
It lives in my studio,
the accumulated sources of inspiration that dwell in the studio.
that dwells in the studio.

The book is bound in cloth with a shimmering mesh pattern under the supervision of Reiko Sudo, a textile designer. The "gauze cloth" used in Japanese mosquito nets was lined with thin black paper. Yoshihisa Tanaka, who has designed many art books, designed the book. The book was printed and bound by BOOK PRINTING CO. This is the eighth BONBOOK book to be published, and has welcomed a variety of authors across genres, including manga artist Fumiko Takano, poet Takashi Hiraide, and Kazunari Hattori, who also designed the FRAGILE BOOKS logo.

Incidentally, "Homo Faber," which is the title of this book, refers to the creative activity of making and using tools. The term was coined by French philosopher Henri Bergson, who advocated that this is the essence of human activity that distinguishes us from other animals. Surrounded by his own furniture, Philippe Weisbecker's daily life, in which life and creation are inseparably linked, quietly demonstrates what it means to be a creative person.

Text by Osamu Kushida

Editor: Osamu Kushida
Photography by Toshiaki Miyamoto
Translation and coordination by Natsuko Kida
Layout design by Ryosuke Saiki
Book design by Yoshihisa Tanaka
Textile design of the cover by Reiko Sudo
Special thanks to Kaoru Kasai
Business cooperation by MUJI BOOKS
Printing and binding by TOSHO PRINTING CO., LTD.

148 × 210 × 10mm
96 pages
2500 copies
ISBN: 978-4-910462-03-5

© Fragile Books

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