Valérie Bouvier, pure product of the 80s

Portrait of Valérie Bouvier
Portrait of Valérie Bouvier

Too lacquered blow-drying and lycra body are over. At Paul Bert Serpette, the very essence of the 80s is concentrated on the Remix Gallery's booth. Pur product of the cult of joy and daring that offered these years, Valérie Bouvier has naturally become an ambassador for this aesthetic. Some Starck pieces, a concept, pure lines, let the enthusiasm spread to you over the very idea of going to meet this passionate antique dealer.

Can you tell us about your background?

My journey is quite fun. When I was 15, I had a revelation when I visited an exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle at the Museum of Modern Art. The aesthetic shock was so strong that when I left the exhibition I found my way: I wanted to be Niki de Saint Phalle! Inspired by her freedom, her work on form, color and femininity, I wanted to enter Fine Arts and when I was able to do it at 17, my life really started. After also studying Decorative Arts from Strasbourg, I embarked on a career as a plastic artist, then I worked for Arte as 1st production assistant.

At the same time, I have always hunted and been a collector. My mother was an antique dealer and had a shop in the 7th arrondissement and with my brother, we started to work with her. My brother then settled in Paul Bert Serpette, while I was giving conferences in museums and plastic art workshops for children. One day, my brother told me that a booth was freeing up in his alley and that it was time for me to strike out. This is what I did, now it's 5 years ago. I wanted to present something different from what you could find on the market and especially which had not yet been explored and whose plastic aspect attracted me.

Why this passion for the 80s?

The 80s tell me about my childhood, I know the aesthetic by heart… My mother's brushings, her epaulette jackets and her big Christian Lacroix jewelry. It's an extremely prolific and cheerful period, people party, these are the Palace years, the Ardisson years, the Starck years…

I love all the culture of the 80s! I admire Yves Saint Laurent, I'm a fan of Kim Wilde and I absolutely worship Top Gun!

During these years, there was a completely crazy effervescence in the field of creation and design. What excites me is that everything is to be discovered ! Some works exist, but it is still quite a virgin territory to explore. I like to find names of designers and architects who have produced small series and have the chance to meet them.

Although unloved in the field of creation and design, the 80s are in fact of great sophistication and marked by the arrival of very creative young people who invent, self-produce, use new networks, while being supported by the State. It is a great blow of expenses!

What does Paul Bert Serpette represent for you?

For me it is first of all a family story, because my brother was installed there. Then, it is the place where you have to be if you want to talk about antiques and design. I could not choose another market, this is where everything happens because there is an international clientele. We meet people from everywhere, from all walks of life. We create strong links with clients, some have even become friends.

Pieces that I present on my booth are quite specific, Paul Bert Serpette is really adapted because it drains connoisseurs on the market. 

Which part of your booth is dear to your heart at the moment?

The neon "Easy Light" by Philippe Starck, from 1979. For me, it represents the typical emblematic light of the 80s. It is iconic It is a futuristic, minimalist and radical piece, which appears in the film Total Recall, by Paul Verhoeven, from a novel by Philippe K Dick.  In this film, a large part of the furniture and lighting are from Starck.

This neon has something a little playful, since it has a mercury switch and lights up by rotation. When Philippe Starck came to my booth the last time, he explained to me that at the beginning, he made them all alone, in his studio. I like this artisanal side, this work of plastic artist.

This piece is at the crossroads of night club neon, majorette stick and light sculpture.

It is also a reference to minimal American art, to artists like Bruce Nauman or Dan Flavin. All of a sudden we are only talking about a simple object, but also about space, staging, this is a story to tell. All this makes this piece all very emblematic of the 80s, because it is a period when the furniture, beyond its function, is scenographic. There is a whole intellectual reflection behind the furniture, which is not made to be comfortable, but because it has to say something.

Andrée Putman summed up this wonderfully, when she answered the question "is it comfortable?" "Saying" We will see, it is secondary. Let us first see if it is beautiful. Comfort is visual "