Jean-Michel Roccuzzo is an artistic acrobat. An aesthete who creates a sense of weightlessness in the way that he orchestrates a perfect balance in the pieces that fill his interior. With a background in advertising, the artist combines his works together in perfect harmony, creating a way to link objects together. A sort of bridge that smooths the path for two works with starkly differing characters to engage in a mutual dialogue. This is essential for an artist who appreciates both the contrasts that he creates and the stories that his works tell. Indeed, he feeds off them. The concept of his latest sculptural project is therefore less surprising than it might have been. Jean-Michel reappropriates images of “fails” taken from the web, transforming them into impressive, sometimes abstract and frequently surprising tableaux, which are all the more fascinating due to the fact that they are not original works. A variation creating an improvement through a change of direction. Jean-Michel redraws the boundaries. This also applies in his home, where the changes are significant. His composition – an area in which he excels – regularly evolves as he makes new acquisitions. Only one thing remains constant: his collection of Japanese porcelain. He enjoys hosting guests with this extremely delicately finished porcelain, scrupulously ensuring that saucer, bowl and plates are perfectly matched. The Socialite Family invites you to enter the uniquely hypnotising world of a sublimely refined perfectionist.
Jean-Michel, who are you?
A Parisian. A designer. A graduate of a hotel school and the fine arts. I am a creative director in the luxury sector, specialising in the design of experience. I am also a visual artist working on web culture subjects. I have absolute respect for the arts and crafts, and, above all, the work involved in an object.
How would you define your style in terms of decoration?
I do not identify myself with one style, but I think in terms of spaces with objects that speak to each other and live alongside each other with interesting contrasts between their individual characters. I am attracted to pieces that have stories and have lived many lives.
Where do you get your passion for furniture?
Probably from my art studies in Nancy. I first discovered Art Nouveau there with the key proponents of the “Nancy school”: Louis Majorelle, Émile Gallé and so on. Then, from contact with objects and architectural projects by the genius Jean Prouvé, whose concept of “industrialisation of the art object” is always in the back of my mind.
Which period appeals to you the most?
I am not attached to any particular period because what I like is the way objects contrast while they live alongside each other. For example, a Tahiti lamp by Ettore Sottsass on a Louis Majorelle pedestal table can dialogue perfectly and naturally with a coffee table by Paul Evans or George Nakashima, as long as you associate linking objects with it, to connect it. By linking objects, I mean those objects that act as bridges between other objects of different characters and that allow you to create a harmonious whole.
An artist, designer who impresses you?
Oh, there are lots of them! A large Philipe Hiquily table sculpture is poetry. And then there are George Nakashima, Paul Evans, Oscar Niemeyer, Dieter Rams, Ettore Sottsass, David Lynch, Marcello Mastroianni, Atom Egoyan, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Charlie Chaplin, Georg Baselitz, Alain Séchas, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Louis de Funès… there are too many to count.
Where do you go hunting for treasures?
I have my special little place off the beaten track in Paris in the 9th arrondissement. It’s a rare, sensitive place. It is here that I have been able to pefect my culture of the object, thanks to my privileged discussions with Jacqes (a passionate restorer and out of the ordinary antique dealer). I’ve been going there for 13 years! Otherwise, on my travels. And for everything else, there’s eBay.
Are you a collector at heart?
Not really: I don’t want to accumulate things, to hoard. Objects and their stories nourish me, they take me on journeys and connect me to different cultures. I spend a lot of time moving things and making changes, variations, but I’m not a collector (except for Japanese ceramics, in the hope that one day I’ll get over it… or not.)
What would be the piece of furniture of your wildest dreams?
To have a Brasilia chair by Oscar Niemeyer. And some large ceramic totems by Ettore Sottsas.
What about your photographic work/works on canvas? Can you tell us more?
My work revolves around process of enhancing images from web culture – mainly “Failures” – that are generated from the outset with obsolescence and notions of transient consumption in mind.
Where can we buy your works?
By contacting me at the following address: [email protected]
What you miss?
My Sicilian grandmother’s pasta machine.
Can you recommend us some good restaurants?
I spend a lot of time moving things and making changes, variations, but I'm not a collector.
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily