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Jean-Michel Othoniel was born on January 27, 1964 in Saint-Etienne, France. As a young man, Othoniel transformed his own personal mythologies into works of art, utilizing a variety of media, such as installation, film, sculpture, and photography. Throughout the nineties, Othoniel primarily sculpted in brimstone, then turning to volcanic glass after a visit to Sicily where he observed these materials first-hand on the volcanic island.
In 1992 he participated in Documenta in Kassel and the Istanbul Biennial. Two years later he showed at the Féminin/Masculin exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. From the mid-nineties, Othoniel concentrated on the metamorphosis of glass and began collaborating with C.I.R.V.A. (Centre International du Verre et Arts Plastiques) of Marseilles and with the glass masters of Murano. In 1997, he had his first solo show in Venice in the garden of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The following year a retrospective of his work was held in Spain (Granada and Bilbao).
In 2000, in honor of the centennial of Paris’s metropolitan, Othoniel was commissioned to execute Kiosque des Noctambules, the new entrance to the metro station Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre a place Colette. The alluminum structure features eight hundred glass beads from Murano. In 2004, the Louvre invited Othoniel to participate in the exhibit Contrepoint hosted by the Oriental Antiquities Department. Two years later, he exhibited again at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, for which he crafted a large necklace made of blown glass, Peggy’s Necklace (2006). Othoniel lives and works in Paris.