Juliette Leperlier’s studio is but a few minutes away from her great-grandfather François Décorchemont’s 19th century studio and not far from her uncle Antoine Leperlier’s current studio. And within its walls are reminders of her late father Étienne Leperlier. Yet when asked to name the glass artists she most admires, absent from her list are the aforementioned names.
Juliette grew up within this family of French glass masters. As a young artist she distanced herself from her heritage, rejecting glass, especially Pâte-de-verre.
Pâte-de-verre is a complex and punishing glass technique that demands the artist to act as sculptor and master craftsperson, to know the workings of a kiln and to have tremendous patience through the final cold-working and polishing stages. Challenge after challenge, it has been known to bring the artist more frustration than joy.
One must be deeply passionate about Pâte-de-verre to want to take it on.
Although Juliette attempted to cast aside the shadow of her family’s legacy, she also acknowledged, “Glass art is like a disease that has long lay dormant in my body.” There is no one else in the world like her, born and raised into these circumstances, a personal witness to the glory of French glass art. To others, this is simply glass history but to Juliette, it is her legacy, her predecessors and an obstacle she must transcend.
This “must” is what drives her because at the end of the day, she can not escape her name – Leperlier.
Today, you bear witness to an artist’s lifelong exploration through glass. Each piece proffers a question and an answer which then leads to another in a never ending cycle. And through this, glass art has inadvertently been ushered into a new era, speaking a new language.
Juliette Leperlier has released the philosophy and aesthetics of French glass art from its weighty past. Looking at the world with her own eyes, in her own style, Juliette looks to herself for the answers.
Pâte-de-verre – a new possibility, a new name: Juliette Leperlier.
Chang Yi, Curator