At home with Marc Camille Chaimowicz

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Anglo-French born 1947

 

The Jewish Museum housed in the magnificent townhouse completed in 1908 for the banker, Felix Warburg, on 5th Avenue in New York is hosting an exhibition about the aesthetic sensibility of Marc Camille Chaimowicz.

 

 

 

                  The Jewish Museum, 92nd and 5th Avenue, New York.  Photo from the web

The artist was born in 1947 in Paris, the son of a Polish Jewish émigré father and a French Catholic mother. His father’s family died in the Holocaust.  French is his primary language.

When he was eight, the family moved to London where the artist still lives. 

Known for his merging of both performance and installation art, the artist has always used his own home as inspiration for and staging of his art:  painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, ceramics, furniture, lighting, textiles, wallpaper; and art books. 1975 to the present day.

He uses Central European, French and British design elements.

He places the objects he creates – often with artisans –  as on a stage with fixtures which he has also designed. 

A young woman told me that here is the artist’s dream world.  It seems, rather, that this is the artist’s real world.

A second young woman took as happy coincidence that the artist had placed a bottle of the Yves Saint Laurent perfume, Paris, on a dressing table.   She was wearing a single drop on her wrist from her hoarded and depleted 10-year old bottle to raise her childhood in memory on this her birthday.  

The artist would be pleased with this, I thought.

Faint images.  Objects set down without crowding each other or you:  carefully as if carelessly.   Colours, shades, shapes, outlines changing throughout the day in the light of large mirrors.

Pristine. Nothing portentous or pretentious.

A light-touch oasis of suggestions for human comfort and contentment alone or in company:  a ‘housely heaven’ in the words of the poet, David Whyte. 

 

 

 

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING, 1996

David Whyte, American born England, 1962

 

 

I awoke

 

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this morning
in the gold light

 

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turning this way
and that

 

 

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thinking for
a moment

 

 

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it was one
day

 

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Wallpaper


like any other.

But
the veil had gone

 

 

 

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from my
darkened heart

 

 

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and
I thought

 

 

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it must have been the quiet
candlelight

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Wallpaper with photographs

 

that filled my room,

 

 

 

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it must have been
the first
easy rhythm

 

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Detail of an art book

 

 

with which I breathed

 

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myself to sleep,

 

 

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it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness

 

 

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of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day

 

 

 

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you could

 

 

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meet your love,

 

 

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 Detail of an art book

 

this is the black day

 

 

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 Design for an art book

 

someone close

 

 

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Detail of an art book

 

 

to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken

 

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curtains designed by the artist

between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up

 

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Dual, 2006-07, Finnish birch plywood, woven fabric, and powder-coated metal

 

 

in the quiet pathway
of light,

 

 

 

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 Wallpaper with photographs

 

 

the tawny

close-grained cedar

 

 

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burning round

me like fire

 

 

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and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending

 

 

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Wallpapers, some with photographs

 

 

through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home

 

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in which I live,

 

 

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 Dual, 2006-07, Finnish birch plywood, woven fabric, and powder-coated metal

 

 

this is where

 

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 Various furniture maquettes, 1975-2018, mixed media

 

 

I ask
my friends

 

 

DSC08846Rope Vase in ceramic, 2014 with a sofa of the artist’s design

 

 

 

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End game, 2018, etched mirrored glass and chrome nobs

 

 

 

to come,

 

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Lamp 11, 2014, collage on fabric, wood, concrete, and electric wiring

 

 

this is where I want

 

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to love all the things

 

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Coffee Table Fossil Brown 197, 2015-2016, marble, hardwood with lacquer and a commercially produced coffee service

 

 

it has taken me so long

 

 

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to learn to love.

This is the temple

 

 

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Detail of art books

 

 

of my adult aloneness

 

 

 

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Man looking out of the Window, 2006, black and white resin print on aluminum

 

 

and I belong

 

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Seven Day Hat Rack, 2015, wood and glass

 

 

to that aloneness

 

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Seven Day Hat Rack, 2015, wood and glass

 

 

as I belong to my life.

There is no house

 

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DSC08800DSC08801DSC08802Bespoke coat hangers for clothes the artist decorated and wore; wood, paper, fabric and acrylic paint, 2011

 

 

 

like the house of belonging.

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