Nicolas Buffe

Nicolas Buffe, a French artist based in Tokyo, is the creator behind a multifaceted, interdisciplinary world combining erudite and popular culture.
Born in 1978, he belongs to a generation naturally marked by Japanese culture, developing from childhood a passion for cartoons, manga and video games. These references were supplemented throughout the course of his studies by classic works of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, such as The Romance of the Rose and The Dream of Poliphilus. This blending of narrative and visual influences is omnipresent in his work, which is based on the humanistic notion of «serio ludere» or «serious play», and which has been presented in France and internationally through exhibitions and outstanding installations, such as in La Maison Rouge (2007, Le Vestibule), Tokyo Contemporary art museum (2008), MAD Paris (2010, Circuit Céramique), Hara Museum of contemporary art de Tokyo (2014, soloshow), Théâtre du Châtelet – Paris and Nijō Castle – Kyoto (Nuit Blanche 2016), French May at Hong Kong City Hall, and K11 Hong Kong (2017 soloshows), Sèvres : 300 Creative years (2017-2018, Suntory Museum – Tokyo and Osaka, Hagi, Shizuoka). Roppongi Art Night (2018, Tokyo) and Magiques Licornes at Musée de Cluny – Paris (2018-19), as well as prestigious and varied collaborative projects (Hermès, Comme des Garçons, Maison Pierre Hermé, Sèvres, Mitsukoshi-Isetan, Craft Limoges, N2, Hankyu, Tsutaya). He is also the winner of the 2010 Aubusson Contemporary Tapestry Award. He ventured into the opera at the invitation of Jean-Luc Choplin and was commissioned twice for the Théâtre du Châtelet to handle scenography, costume design and visual conception for Haydn’s Orlando Paladino (Best Scenic Design of the year 2012) and Mozart’s Il Re Pastore (2015). He designed the stage curtain of the Seine Musicale on the theme of Orpheus (2017).
Most recently, in 2018, he designed one of the five facades of the the Museum Garage in Miami’s Design District (project curated by Terence Riley, with WORKac; J. Mayer H.; Clavel Arquitectos; K/R; 11 national and international awards), while over the winter of 2018-2019, he set up a monumental installation inside Ginza Six in Tokyo. His first collaboration with Sèvres dates back to 2016, when he was invited to participate in an exceptional firing in of the largest wood-fired kiln dating from the 19th century.

For his first collaboration with Galerie MiniMasterpiece, Nicolas Buffe chose to combine two worlds that at first might seem to be in opposition. On the one hand, there is the Manufacture de Sèvres, emblem of the prestigious history of French porcelain since the 18th century, also embodying a certain notion of refinement and fragility. On the other hand, there is Shoot’em up, which as the name suggests, is a frantic action video game in which the aim is to eliminate ever more enemies from outer space appearing on the screen.

Nicolas Buffe spent long years studying the historical collections in the storerooms of the Manufacture de Sèvres. With their elaborate curves and evocative names, some vases made him think of futuristic spaceships like those he had seen in many video games since his childhood. With a touch of irony, he took pleasure in tracing the links between the origins of French porcelain and those of video games. Each of these is a history that Nicolas Buffe loves, and both in their own ways have universal significance.

Thus, Buffe transformed the Mercury potpourri Vase into an “Invader from Mercury” and the Star Vase of 1776 into the “Starship Defender”. As for the laser beams crossing between these vessels, the parallel with the luminosity and brightness of the stones could not have been bettered. The sophistication of Sèvres biscuits is echoed in the miniature animated vessels on the screen of an arcade terminal.

 

Necklace, 2019
Sèvres porcelain, black enamel,
18k yellow gold, green onyxs
and pink quartzites
edition of 10 + 2AP
édition MiniMasterpiece / Sèvres

Earrings, 2019
Sèvres porcelain, black enamel,
18k yellow gold,
and pink quartzites
edition of 15 + 2AP
édition MiniMasterpiece / Sèvres