Crossing design and contemporary art, Arthur Hoffner was fascinated by artistic ironwork from a young age, and then attended the Compagnons du devoir, followed by the applied arts. He has developed an itinerary where performance, scenography, ceramics and sculpture meet. These confrontations have led to several fruitful collaborations with craftsmen, visual artists and various creators. He transforms plastic drums into a Danaid barrel, uses his experiences in the Sèvres workshops to create curious objects for the table, or designs the refined staging of a complex and cosmic recital of 12th century music. The artist goes back and forth between the eras.
With a pronounced attraction for materials – marble, metal, ceramics, foam… – Arthur Hoffner manipulates objects and history.
Here it is the fountain that is the central subject of his project: an object of pomp and circumstance, hypnotising the person contemplating it. Like water, time flows before the viewer’s eyes, an accomplice of the work. The fountain, with its multiple symbolic meanings – drinking, fountain of youth, mnemosyne – is here made up of three pedestals of ordinary black foam and brass piping, usually used in bathroom designs. Flirting between the trivial and the delicate, the absurd and the serious, these three fountains start a joyful back-and-forth from which a light trickle of water and crystalline music flows. This trio differs slightly from his previous fountains, taking a step aside with the aesthetic dimension of the object, displaying a blacker face.
A reference to contemporary art, on the one hand with the surrealists and their offbeat conception of the world, and on the other as an underlying critique of a milieu of sometimes excessive ostentation – as at the royal court in earlier times – these fountains integrate a multiplicity of narratives.
For Arthur Hoffner, it is also a question of highlighting the preciousness, etymologically “close to the heavens”, that is to say a connection with the sacred.
When you go from the pipe to the divine, water leads to everything! And art tries not to take itself too seriously.