Les Mains sans sommeil

Sep 13, 2018 – Jan 13, 2019

Documentary video: Artists’ Residencies in Hermès workshops
2017 / France / 11min / French with Japanese subtitles

Ginza Maison Hermès Le Forum is pleased to present Les Mains sans sommeil: Artists’ Residencies in Hermès workshops. This exhibition, in two parts, features works by nine artists who participated in the Artists’ Residencies program at various Hermès workshops, primarily based in France, from 2014 to 2017.

The program, which generates encounters between timeless artisanal craft handed down over generations and the abundant creativity of contemporary art, resulting in mutual sharing and collaborative work, has been implemented regularly by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès since 2010. Artists in residence at the workshops engage with extraordinary craftsmanship and have the opportunity to handle materials that are usually difficult to obtain, such as silk, leather, silver, and crystal. Nine artists are selected by three mentors, and each collaborates with an artisan, producing new works through a rewarding process of trial and error.

This exhibition, entitled Les Mains sans sommeil, focuses on the movements and gestures of artisans and artists.

Wordless communication is crucial in the world of craftspeople working in challenging, sometimes harsh environments and dealing with various tools and machines. The hands of artisans silently convey powerful messages about skill, intent, and emotion. Meanwhile, artists tend to handle materials boldly, letting things “happen as they will,” and their hands freely draw forth new forms and processes. To repetitive unconscious movements, which eventually lead to high degrees of skill and sophistication, are added other unconscious phenomena, such as abstract thought and random gesture, transmuting the raw material into art.

Following the exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris in 2017, this exhibition in Tokyo will present works by nine artists, in two separate terms. Performances and artist talks are scheduled during the exhibition’s run. Past works by each artist will be shown alongside works produced in the Residencies program, showing viewers the dramatic encounters between these young artists’ imaginations and Hermès’s materials and techniques in a more multifaceted manner.

*This is the second time works from the Residencies have been shown in Japan, following the 2014 Condensation exhibition (featuring the 16 artists who participated from 2010 to 2013).

Exhibition Booklet


View exhibition catalogue online
“Les Mains sans sommeil” – PDF

Exhibiting Artists


Vol. 1: Clarissa Baumann, Lucia Bru, Célia Gondol, DH McNabb
Vol. 2: Bianca Argimon, Jennifer Vinegar Avery, Io Burgard, Anastasia Douka, Lucie Picandet

General Information


  • Date:
    Vol. 1: 13 September (Thursday) – 4 November (Sunday), 2018
    Vol. 2: 15 November (Thursday), 2018 –13 January (Sunday), 2019
  • Opening hours:
    Mon-Sat 11:00-20:00 (Last admission 19:30)
    Sun 11:00-19:00 (Last admission 18:30)
  • Open daily/ Admission Free
  • Venue:Ginza Maison Hermès Le Forum (8F, 5-4-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan TEL: 03-3569-3300)
  • Curator: Gaël Charbau
  • Artists:
    Vol. 1: Clarissa Bauman, Lucia Bru, Célia Gondol, DH McNabb
    Vol. 2: Bianca Argimon, Jennifer Vinegar Avery, Io Burgard, Anastasia Douka, Lucie Picandet
  • Organizer: Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
  • Patronage: Ambassade de France/Institut français du Japon