A gentlemen’s dialogue

Galerie Parisa Kind in Frankfurt/Main is showcasing works by designer Pierre Paulin for the first time in Germany, juxtaposing them to paintings by his long-term friend Christoph von Weyhe.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 5/23/2019

“This exhibition is a little homage to the connection between Christoph von Weyhe, Azzedine Alaïa and my father Pierre Paulin,” explains Benjamin Paulin. The connection the three men shared was quite special, as is the exhibition at Galerie Parisa Kind in Frankfurt. Thru June 22, 2019, the gallery is showing the interior architecture of French designer Pierre Paulin alongside works by German painter Christoph von Weyhe under the title “Paulin, Paulin, Paulin / Christoph von Weyhe”. The works couldn’t be more different, or so you’d think at first glance. Paulin’s works reflect the era from which they emerged in the 1960s and 1970s – organic, voluminous, sometimes traversed by strict geometric lines. Christoph von Weyhe, on the other hand, has spent almost 60 years painting night-time images of the port of Hamburg, capturing its atmosphere, its industrial structure, its lights. And yet the works relate to one another: in the bold colors both artists use to set a tone; in their sense of geometry and their eye for detail. “Pierre understood my work really well and I really liked his pieces”, says von Weyhe.

It was through Weyhe’s partner, the internationally successful couturier Azzedine Alaïa, that Pierre Paulin and Christoph von Weyhe met – fashion designer Alaïa collected contemporary design pieces alongside costumes and was quick to discover works by Paulin. “Pierre Paulin was one of, if not the first French designer,” says Benjamin Paulin. “At the beginning of the 1950s, there were many architects who created models for specific contexts, but no creatives who focused exclusively on interior design. My father decided to become an interior designer before the concept even existed.” Paulin, who had worked as a sculptor before suffering an injury to his hand, found his unmistakable signature style in the creation of interiors. Inspired by Nordic designs, strong colors and organic forms, he created comfortable, sculpted items of furniture that seem to merge fashion, art, design and architecture. His designs feature in major collections, such as that of the Louvre or MoMA, and can also be found in the Élysée Palace. Many of his unique ideas were nevertheless consigned to a drawer during Pierre Paulin’s lifetime, since the industry was often unwilling to put his works into series production for cost reasons. The disappointment of seeing his father’s designs almost disappearing from collections and museums after his death affected Benjamin Paulin profoundly. Hence, in order to make Pierre Paulin’s oeuvre accessible to a broader public once again, he and his family founded “Paulin, Paulin, Paulin”. He and his team now manufacture designs that were close to his father’s heart and never went into series production, doing so by hand.

Alice Lemoine, Benjamin Paulin, Parisa Kind (f.l.t.r.)

Christoph von Weyhe and Pierre Paulin also shared a home city – Paris. Having been born in Halle an der Saale and brought up in Schleswig-Holstein, in the 1950s the painter boarded the night train from Copenhagen to Paris in order to continue study at the famous École des Beaux-Arts. The views of the port of Hamburg he glimpsed as the train crossed the Elbbrücken remained etched on his memory for ever. “The port of Hamburg by night – that image never left me and became virtually my life’s work”, von Weyhe says. His memory of this landscape is so powerful that he has to reprocess it time and again. Von Weyhe returned to that erstwhile last view of the port in rapid gouache on paper, which he subsequently elaborated using a fine brush, working in acrylic stroke by stroke over a period of months. Finally, he incorporated abstract structures and accents with rich colors and broad lines. In order to revive the image he had in his mind back then with new impressions, Weyhe has for some years now travelled from Paris to Hamburg each summer, as he once did as a student in his holidays. “For me, this subject is inexhaustible. The activity that goes on there means the port is never fixed, it never stands still. Each time I go there I experience something new”, he explains.  

With “Paulin, Paulin, Paulin / Christoph von Weyhe”, gallery-owner Parisa Kind reconnects the paths taken by the two creative minds with the help of their works. “It is a gentlemen’s dialogue and a dialogue between their art”, surmises Benjamin Paulin.  

Paulin, Paulin, Paulin / Christoph von Weyhe
Thru June 22, 2019
Gallery Parisa Kind
Kaiserstrasse 4 / 2. Floor
60311 Frankfurt/Main 

Guests of the vernissage: Manuel Herkner, Sebastian Herkner, Parisa Kind, Robert Volhard, Franziska Michaelis, Benjamin Paulin (f.l.t.r.)

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