Designer - Plastic Artist

Like Italian radical design of the 1970s, Moxi (Moïse B) defies the conception of traditional design and offers a critical view of the hidden side of industrial products. His combinations of enigmatic objects move us, make us laugh, provoke us, create controversy and propose ‘objects of discussion’. His objects are critical proposals for cultural, human and social interactions. Moxi pushes boundaries to the limits and invites design to reinvent itself through introspective reflection.

It’s not for nothing that Moxi is a designer! His objects are not to be considered according to a functional interpretation of usages and a conventional aesthetic of design, but as plastic art narratives situated between art and the social sciences, at the dividing line between design and contemporary art.

  • Born on 19 February 1966, in Avignon, France.
  • Lives and works in both Marseille and Paris.
  • Graduate of Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (Ensci les Ateliers), Paris – 1991.
  • Winner of the French Ministry of Culture’s Bourse Agora prize – 1992.
  • Founder of the design agency MOISE STUDIO, specialised in spatial design and art direction –
  • Project Director at Ensci les Ateliers – Since 2003
  • Project Leader at Centre Michel Serres – Since 2013.
  • Teacher at Ecole Centrale de Paris (2011/2014), at Ecole Boulle (1997/2001) and at Ecole Camondo, Paris (since 2016) Project Director and
  • Teacher at Academy China of Art in Hangzhou – Since 2016.
  • Educational Director of the Camondo Mediterranean School – Since September 2019
  • Co-CEO of E-Art Campus and EArt Platform (Chinese company) in China.
By Jean-Charles Agboton-Jumeau, art critic

0.0 For the past 10 years, Moïse B. has been producing obscure objects of desire behind the closed doors of his workshop. Now he is unveiling them for the first time. From among some 200 pieces he has made to date, this well-known and acknowledged designer has chosen to exhibit around 40 industrial and everyday objects at Designer’s Day 2013.

0.1 These ready-mades always combine at least two objects that radiate an extra dimension or a meaning that tends to be visual or verbal. We could call this latter ‘verbivisual’ or, if we prefer, ‘livisible’. This leads us to think of Surrealism in general and of this assertion by André Breton in particular: ‘It is from the somewhat fortuitous juxtaposition of the two terms that a special light springs forth – the light of the image – to which we prove to be infinitely sensitive. The value of the image depends on the beauty of the spark obtained; it is thus contingent on the difference in potential between the two conductors.’

1.0 This concept is announced by the title of the exhibition itself: ‘Industrial Still Life’. Indeed, the works are contingent on the difference in potential between the two conductors, which in this case are the industrial object on the one hand and a certain genre painting on the other. But here it is Moïse B.’s deliberate juxtaposition of two objects – most of which have childhood, domestic, and/or food connotations – that makes that extra question spring forth. Duchamp, in his day, asked himself that same extra question about art, by producing, among other things, what he called Objet dard (Dart Object): What is the current relationship between art and objet d’art?

1.1 It’s as a designer that Moïse B. in turn asks, ‘What is the current relationship between industrial object and current design?’ Response: the industrial object seems to have perished, as the French title of the exhibition (Natures mortes industrielles) implies. More specifically, the objects that he pairs together already belong to another age: in our own post-industrial era, they seem to be becoming extinct. This notion is backed up by the exhibition’s title in French, Natures mortes industrielles, with its reference to ‘dead’ (mortes). And while the industrial object is not quite yet dead, we are nonetheless witnessing its death throes, even if it at least seems to have survived the era in which it was born. From this juxtaposition of industrial object and design, or from the formal, chromatic or semantic comparison of the objects that he hunts for, collects and pairs together, there ensues a certain archaeology. By looking ahead to the disappearance of the industrial object, Moïse B. paradoxically seeks to hasten its conservation or existence as a relic. When transformed into an archaeologist, the designer attempts – by successive verbivisual approximations and/or juxtapositions – less to reconstitute the past meaning of his objects than to speculate about or to guess their semantics or their current or even future meaning.

1.2 To the question ‘So what is the current relationship between industrial object and design?’, this present-day archaeologist (of a present day that is by definition ephemeral) thus responds, ‘What is the current relationship between the designer on the one hand and the predesignated object and/or simply “design” in the era of post-design?’

2.0 In other words, what is an object in the era of post-design? It is, for example, a mobile phone. Why is it already no longer exactly an industrial object? Having become a mere medium (or intermediary) of technological information, consumption or communication (advertising), it has in practice lost its relative autonomy (both functional and aesthetic) compared to a glass, for example. Like a plastic cup, it is programmed from time of manufacture to end up in some rubbish bin, so that it is dismissed as soon as it is designed. It’s waste from the start. Or, better yet, it is ‘refuse’ [from the Old French refus (‘waste product, rubbish’), the past participle of refuser, which has given us the verb ‘refuse’]. And while a glass loses its status as an object if it shatters, for example, a plastic cup neither breaks up nor deteriorates: it is ‘refused’ in the sense of dismissed, and once thrown out becomes ‘refuse’. That is the case nowadays of a ‘consumable’: a commodity needed for the production of goods or services but that does not become part of the finished product.

3.0 If Marcel Duchamp was one of the artists who inaugurated the era of tongue-in-cheek art – not art for art’s sake but the art of art – then Moïse B. is initiating, through his ‘Industrial Still Lifes’, the age of tongue-in-cheek design (as illustrated above all else by his bottles that are made of both plastic and glass, or in other words those things that, in the end, are neither object nor refuse).

© Jean-Charles Agboton-Jumeau

Moïse B. Is Watching Us... or, When Objects Have a Soul
By Michel Taube - Founder and Editor in Chief of Opinion Internationale

He bears the name of another Prophet… Welcome to the world of Moïse B., who, for nearly a year, has been throwing light on current events at Opinion Internationale. His viewpoint is sometimes scathing, never malicious and always perceptive.

Caricature has been much in evidence since they tried to kill Charlie. It’s the cartoon, the press illustration and the pencil that today make the editorial, and this is the best tribute that could be made to the Charlie Hebdo team in mourning.
In this salutary flood of millions of cartoons that – as the expression goes – often say more or even better than long speeches, there is a cartoonist/designer/artist that stands out from the rest: Moïse B.
His strength is that he alternates between two types of creations: those that directly deliver a meaningful message (represented by the works the ‘We are Charlie’ mobilisation has inspired in him) and those (more frequent) creations that are much more allusive and that leave readers the freedom to find by themselves the meaning of current event, which he sometimes suggests between the lines. Moïse B.’s strength is to leave us free faced with the cartoon or faced with the work! Moïse B. is reinventing Dadaism with an angle that draws its inspiration from the abstract and subversive movement of the Surrealists.
Moïse B. is also different via his style and composition because, contrary to appearances, he doesn’t write with a pen! Moïse B. doesn’t draw, and yet he’s a cartoonist. Moïse B. doesn’t build an image using Photoshop like a graphic artist. Moïse B. builds works of art from everyday objects. His material, like the block of granite in front of the sculptor, is an object of consumption that fulfils our life as consumers and as citizens. Moïse B. hijacks this object, deconstructs it and then reconstructs it in a universe of current affairs; from it he creates a work of art that gives it new life. A miracle of imagination and creation.