My studio on the Boulevard Pasteur was small (27 square meters),” reminisces the 91-year-old Hungarian architect Yona Friedman in the preface to 1001 nuits + 1 jour, his new artist’s book. Describing this tiny Parisian atelier, he explains, “I didn’t repaint the walls, but covered them with drawings … of my secret, imaginary world.” In 1968, when Friedman relocated to a more spacious apartment, the drawings were taken down. He recently rediscovered them in a drawer, “older and aged, both the drawings and myself, even more moving than before.”
The charming and spirited exhibition “1001 nuits + 1 jour” (1,001 nights + 1 day) presented both the book and a group of reproduced drawings in a scatter hang. The book, a playful rather than precious object, enables its owner to recreate Friedman’s original décor or to invent a new one. As in a children’s sticker book, each drawing has been pre-cut by laser and can be easily detached from the page (and, if needed, painlessly slipped back into position), dovetailing nicely with the notions that are central to Freidman’s work.