Benjamin Loyauté at the London Design Biennale
Business France is very pleased to support France’s installation at this year’s London Design Biennale, taking place between the 7th and 27th of September at London’s Somerset House. The Design Biennale will see 37 countries from six different continents present newly commissioned works of art under the theme ‘Utopia by Design’. Some of the many topics explored as part of the event include sustainability, pollution, migration and social equality.
France will be represented at the Biennale by Benjamin Loyauté, whose thought-provoking installation Le Bruit des Bonbons – The Astounding Eyes of Syria explores the power of everyday objects to share a nation’s heritage. Loyauté specifically uses confectionary as a vessel to portray the scars of war in Syria, but also the strength of the memories that survive tragedy.
The installation focuses on the role of candy as a universal transmitter for the human race. Designed as an Assyrian eye idol, Loyauté uses his original creation, sweets called Louloupti to channel Syria’s collective immaterial heritage. In encouraging visitors to take part in the performance of purchasing a bag of Louloupti, Loyauté seeks to intertwine art, design and action – all proceeds of this performance will help educate children of displaced families and refugees.
Drawing on his experience visiting a Syrian refugee camp, Benjamin Loyauté has also created a new genre of film, a heterotopia which will premiere at the Biennale, as well as a book about the project published by Benjamin Loyauté Studio and Dilecta.
After a few years of taking small steps in research, focus and practice, the project le bruit des bonbons –The Astounding Eyes of Syria explores the power of
the language and magical status of everyday objects through the creation of new “word-objects.” Sculpted pink damask sugar work, the “Louloupti” candy conceived by Benjamin Loyauté serve the function of extending time and memory as a shield against oblivion in order to safeguard the future. These confections mend vision and awaken the ability to see, to act and to sweep away inertia. The installation stirs up and shares immaterial memories that continue to live over time and survive the tragedy of war. This invitation to observe and increase the capacity to act takes the shape of a “fictio-functional” installation alongside tangible investigations.
A great many Syrians today are able to find themselves again through their living heritage, which cannot be broken, reduced or forgotten. By collecting “memories of sweets” of Syrian friends, displaced or dispersed persons, refugees, the work is contemplating a “new pragmatism” in this third chapter. By developing a new format for intervention, Loyauté explores real situations, moving from theory to praxis through poesis. The word-object is produced and spread around the world, sparking embodied experience that puts us under the influence of our own forces, and of fictions that may, over time, seep into reality. The film The Astounding Eyes of Syria lies between fiction and documentary, seeking hybrid and manifest experimentation.
About Benjamin Loyauté
Benjamin Loyauté (born 1979, France) takes an experimental and historical approach to his work. He thrives at the intersection of collaborative systems and cross-disciplinary research: history & cultural sociology, art & semantics, design & geography. His new work explores immaterial culture and New Pragmatism. Loyauté first used the term “semantic design” in 2014. He then defined his work as a language that is constantly evolving under a given climate. He has since begun to reflect on our contemporary societies and all the ways in which they are influenced by language, culture, time and environmental context. Loyauté has spent years experimenting in geopolitics of design. Steeped in design and art history, his work binds semantics, objects and contexts together. Loyauté explores real situations, moving from theory to praxis (action). In 2015, he was head curator of the Saint-Etienne Design Biennial, where his exhibition Hypervital was recognised as a turning point in his practice. From then on, he started working on ways to enhance a new practice based on new formats of intervention. The Astounding Eyes of Syria, on view at Somerset House, presents the London premiere of Loyauté’s 18-minute film, which explores the mysterious power of the language and the magical status of everyday objects. Weaving fiction and documentary, it seeks hybrid and manifest experimentation.
The French pavilion at the London Design Biennale is point number 18 on the French Design Trail. More information about the exhibition can be found on the event website. If you have any queries about any of the events along the French Design Trail, please fill in the contact form on our homepage.