Contemporary Art

André Bloc’s Living Sculptures

By Julien Seroussi

I was about ten when my family moved to the house of André Bloc in Meudon. Through my child's eyes, I saw this place as the most astounding playground, and walking in this extraordinary garden was an awakening to arts synthesis. With my two brothers, Benjamin and Simon, we organised wild parties in the “Tour du jardin” and the Habitacle built by André Bloc in this green hole at the beginning of the 60s.

Founder of emblematic avant-garde architecture reviews, Architecture d’aujourd’hui in 1930, then of the modern movement Art Aujourd’hui in 1949 and Aujourd’hui, Art et Architecture in 1955, André Bloc wanted to conciliate “the art of engineers, of builders, of plastic artists and architects.” He tried to realise this project at his property through the construction of “sculpturehabitacles.”

These structures seem to oscillate between habitation and artwork, and are both at the same time. By proposing a new way of experiencing art, they attracted the attention of generations of architects like Oscar Niemeyer and Frank Gehry, stage directors like William Klein who used them as the setting of the movie Who Are You, Polly Magoo? Or Jean-Luc Godard, who shot the final scene of Made in U.S.A there, as well as famous artists of his time.

In the house located below the garden, which always seemed like a sculpture to me too, we had to learn to live with André Bloc. It was probably my mother, Natalie Seroussi, who had the most successful relationship with him. Many times, in the quiet hours, she even claimed to have seen him make sure the spirit of the place was preserved.

Interior of André Bloc's Sculpturehabitacle II (1964). © Personal archives of Natalie Seroussi.

My parents, Natalie and Léon, built their relationship around the creation of a collection of design, modern and contemporary art. After dedicating years to international law, I have decided to involve myself in the gallery only a year ago. When I arrived, I too wanted to follow in the footsteps of André Bloc and those of my parents by rekindling the project of building an extension to the house of Meudon. Since 2008, many artists have come to the place for onsite projects like Ernesto Neto, Michel François, Malachi Farrell, Mathieu Briand, Phil Niblock, Tobias Putrih, Didier Faustino.

About ten years ago, Natalie organised a contest for disruptive architects without finding the right project to fit in the property. Today, we organise this auction to breathe new life into the project, with the construction of a new space to propose a new type of home, create links between art historians, curators, architects, writers and artists. These encounters could give way to a publication, the building of an ephemeral pavilion or a sculpture. In this “conversational residency”, open to the art world, we could reignite the dialogue initiated by André Bloc.

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