2012 New Visual Artist: Jerome Corgier

By Jane Lerner

From Jarjaja, a project with the Lebanese graphic designer Lara Captan, mixing Latin and Arabic typography, 2008-2010

Looking at Jerome Corgier’s type sculptures, with their suggestive, amorphous shapes, can be a bit like gazing at clouds. In his love for pure typography, Corgier often strips down forms until their meaning loosens. Letters “immediately lose their signification when you play with them,” he says, “and with that I can open a new place to play.”

Age: 28
Type and graphic designer
From: Montreuil, France 
Lives in: Montreuil, France
Website: http://www.pariri.com/

With little more than a sharp blade, geometric creases, and an architect’s sense of three-dimensionality, Corgier can transform a piece of fiber into something expressive, as with his blog’s “Daily Emotion with Paper” series, which uses thin curlicues and cuts of colored paper to represent his mood. “I feel that all those paper forms have a big emotional content,” Corgier says. “They are very simple, but in fact they are essential. I play with contrasts of colors. I’m working on the gesture to draw letters, the liberty of movement.” In time, he says, the studies will become a larger typographic project.

From Jarjaja, a project with the Lebanese graphic designer Lara Captan, mixing Latin and Arabic typography, 2008-2010

From Jarjaja, a project with the Lebanese graphic designer Lara Captan, mixing Latin and Arabic typography, 2008-2010

Born in Montreuil, the Paris suburb where he still lives, Corgier studied science before enrolling in art school. (He now designs the local government’s communications materials.) In 2008, he opened his own studio, Atelier Pariri, where his clients include The New Republic and Louis Vuitton. For The New York Times’ style magazine, T, he crafted a gothic title letter out of layers of black and white paper that absolutely undulate to the eye.

That kind of breathing dimensionality has become integral to his work. In his early typographic-sculpture experiments, he says, “I worked the structure, the skeleton.” (The undersides of some of Corgier’s objects reveal bits of wood used to prop up the layers of paper.) “Now I work with the skin, with surfaces. My sculptures now are lighter—they are flying.”

Experimental research in sculptural typography, 2008-2011

Experimental research in sculptural typography, 2008-2011

Experimental research in sculptural typography, 2008-2011

Experimental research in sculptural typography, 2008-2011

Corgier speaks French, English, and a bit of German, and he is familiar with the Arabic alphabet. “I mostly love forms,” he says, “and with forms I discover the different languages. It permits me to be free.” Next up, Corgier hopes to study Chinese, Japanese, and Greek—new sets of characters, and new worlds, to explore.


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