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Article: Wood Morning Show: We talk about it with Juce Gace

Wood Morning Show : On en parle avec Juce Gace

Wood Morning Show: We talk about it with Juce Gace

We left each other last year when you were about to launch Wood Morning Paris. How did that happen ?

It went really well. Honestly, I was very happy because it brought together, federated, artists and collectors in a way that I had never seen before. It allowed several different communities to meet, followers of street art, art toys, illustration and then passers-by who were discovering the universe, since we were in a fairly pop neighborhood with a lot of pop- up stores. It allowed me to meet a lot of people and see in real life people with whom I had sometimes discussed for several years.

Is another iteration on the cards?

After Wood Morning Paris, two months later to be precise, there was a two-month exhibition: Wood Morning Hong Kong. I was really able to enjoy myself in terms of scenography, we had a lot of space, 300m2 to fill, it gives something impressive and very funny!

What are the differences between doing an exhibition in Paris and an exhibition in Hong Kong?

It's very very different. In Paris, I organized everything, from renting the venue to insuring the pieces, while in Hong Kong I was welcomed by a gallery. In Paris it costs much more to do so inevitably, it is more complicated to obtain a place with enough space. It is also harder to work on a scenography worthy of what we can do in Asia. There, there is a proximity to the places where we produce scenography (signs, presentation furniture), which makes everything more accessible. In France, you have to do it much more in advance!

Regarding what we exhibit, it is also different. In Paris, the approach was to invite about thirty artists to allow a lot of universes to meet while in Hong Kong, the idea was more to represent all of my work as a toy designer with the presentation exclusive pieces on site. It was the same DNA but not the same type of event.

Each exhibition had its exclusive pieces and its originalities. In Paris we had arcades, carpets, NFTs, in Hong Kong neon lights, glasses, t-shirts, key rings. The idea is to vary the pleasures and surprise people!

What did you work on creating figurines after these two exhibitions?

Many projects that are not yet revealed. It was the year of renewal, people don't know it yet, but I sculpted a lot, I worked with a lot of designers to expand my universe. There are new characters coming and collaborations with other artists. Working in pairs is something I was not used to, it was very exciting. I also developed new production techniques to work on new materials, such as chrome or wood.

You started off making pins, is that something you'd like to come back to?

Yes ! I've always loved small collectibles, although I'm making bigger ones now. What I like is having a super affordable little collectible that allows you to transport and display your little work everywhere.

You are planning a new event that is taking place this Sunday. Can you tell us more about it ?

After the two previous exhibitions, I ended up on my knees and I thought I would take a break for a few years for the exhibitions. And I met the director of the Hourdé school and of the Théâtre de l'Européen, Julien Hourdé, who suggested that I do an exhibition there. The proposal was too tempting, the place is big, steeped in history and perfectly coincides with what I do: Pop, fun, action figures. After my characters arrived in Paris last year, now they're on stage! There is a lot of scenography work for even more games with the public and, for once, lots of collaborations. The idea is to create a continuity with the previous exhibition while assuming much more the "exhibition of art toys" side. No canvases or NFTs this year, we really focus on the 3D object, the sculpture around which you have to turn to discover surprises. I have collaborated with around thirty artists from around ten different countries. Like last year, there are exclusive pieces, but above all, there will be the arrival of a new character, which will also be a diversion in collaboration with an Austrian toy designer named Theodoru. I can't wait for people to discover it in situ.

There will also be a small figurine offered at the entrance for the first spectators and icing on the cake, unique pieces. The exhibition is bigger, funnier than last year but above all more surprising with new materials and new renderings both in my productions and in those of guest artists.

Between a "classic" exhibition and a theatrical exhibition, there are differences, aren't there?

The real difference is that the partnership between the theater and the school is unique. We are offered the place for a day, we can do what we want there, and we collaborate with the school's scenography students for the exhibition. I have as much to learn from them as they from this exhibition, it's fascinating.

Then, the space is really vast, it is a theater where I have already been as a spectator. The history of this place is crazy, it should have been destroyed or redeemed a bunch of times and yet it is still there. Julien Hourdé, the director of the school, is a big collector of art toys and I tell myself that it was a bit written that we meet and that this collaboration sees the light of day.

I have a world that is a bit quirky, a bit funny, sometimes a bit naughty, and being welcomed with open arms for a day where I have carte blanche is quite incredible.

Do you think that toy design is legitimized year after year since now figurines are coming to the theater, a place of classic and recognized art?

Like cinema, theater has a cathartic dimension. There are events taking place in the United States, in England, in Barcelona, in Mexico, in Asia, we have international artists who are getting into Art Toys. We are in Paris, it's great to have a recognized Parisian theater that lets this art "take the stage". Before meeting the team, I would not even have imagined that it would be possible to exhibit my figurines there. For me, it was reserved for street artists and graffiti artists. As a toy designer, we always have this little concern for legitimacy because it's a bit underground niche: it's art, but at the same time, it's a production, it's sculpture and at the same time it's a toy. We have our feet in a lot of areas and as a result, it's hard to fully impose ourselves.

Do you think this kind of event can bring in a new audience?

That's the idea! Already during the previous exhibition, the goal was to meet the public. By collaborating with Hourdé Art Days (a one-day carte blanche given to artists once a month) we open the doors to our community, but also to that of the theater or even people who live in the area.

We were in Paris, Hong Kong, Sunday at the theater. If we remove all the constraints, are there places or mediums on which you would like to transpose your universe?

My universe is quite special because it makes people react. There are people it makes laugh, people it surprises, people it shocks. As I do funny and naughty, it always has food for reaction. I know from experience that I could not exhibit everywhere. You can exhibit Kaws everywhere for example, it's quite universal, for me it's a little more offbeat. So I rarely ask myself this question!
What I would like is to participate in a big convention like Thailand Toy Expo or the Designer Con US and be able to show that a French artist without a producer manages to have a stand as cool as more established artists. And show that you can federate as much by being an artist as by being a big art toy company!
On slightly more classic places, I know that it would provoke reactions that I don't want. It amuses me to shock, but not to provoke negative emotions. Everything I do is to amuse and surprise. I have collectors who tell me "ever since I put your piece in my house, everyone is laughing seeing it". That's really the point: thanks to my piece, the collector will have made ten friends laugh in his week and that's great!

After Sunday, what is the future?

So the future is already that, for people who will not be able to travel, I will put all the pieces still available on my site on Wednesday, May 17 at 4 p.m., so that they can already enjoy the photos and potentially buy pieces they want.

After what happens, there are several big adventures of collaborations with artists. Several sculpts are ready, we now have to start production, financing, all these things that people do not necessarily imagine. Between the sculpt and the production of a figurine, it usually takes me between 8 and 10 months, the time to think about how to launch the figurine, with whom, how to finance it, who will like it, etc... It takes a lot of work upstream so that it seems simple and that the launch of the figurine is obvious.

I have an ongoing collaboration with a Japanese artist, another with a designer straddling Turkey and Russia. This summer, if all goes well, there will also be a new exhibition in Asia…in Singapore, to be precise!


Wood Morning Show
Sunday May 14, 2023
Théâtre de l'Européen
5 rue Biot 75017 Paris
A small figurine offered to the first visitors

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