A free rein for Jean-Michel Othoniel for the 30 years of the MAMC+: the artist presents his third solo exhibition at the Museum to which he is profoundly attached.  

Jean-Michel Othoniel, born in Saint-Etienne in 1964, unveils works linked to features of his home town. Known to the public for his installations and sculptures in coloured glass pearls, he presents here works with more sombre tonalities, echoing amongst other notions the mining past of Saint-Etienne. 

The artist questions us about our presence in the face of global changes. The works exhibited refer to his apprehensive view of these changes. In this autobiographical display old and intimate pieces exchange with the latest architectural and telluric creations. 

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the Big Wave, a huge wall of black glass in the form of a wave, especially designed for the exhibition. The installation rises up and transforms into a wall of menacing black bricks. Othoniel pays tribute to recollections of the walls of his town, previously blackened by coal dust from the mines. Here we are physically confronted by a sensation of being consumed by darkness, engulfed by the reflections of this black matter, a huge breaking wave in the colour of an oil slick, 6 metres high and 15 metres long…


Martine Dancer-Mourès
Chief Heritage Curator
Deputy to the Director
In charge of the 30th anniversary programme of the MAMC+

"I then understood that to manipulate glass you need to be a virtuoso and that if wanted to become one I would have to cease to be an artist and become an orchestra conductor."
Extract from Jean-Michel Othoniel : "To re-enchant life is a poetic and political act", L'express

15 m x 6 m

10 000 bricks

25 tons

Black glass