Remember the Time

BE AWED BY THE 2M-HIGH SPINNING TOP IN BALANCED TIME.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1943, Joseph Hilton McConnico is a man of many talents. Sometimes known as the American in Paris (he has lived and worked in Paris since 1965), his curriculum vitae reads like a dream: Worked for fashion designers such as Ted Lapidus and Yves Saint Laurent; set designer and art director for more than 20 films (La nuit de Saint-Germain-des-Près, 1977; Mon premier amour, 1978; La lune dans le caniveau, 1982, to name a few), designed major exhibitions for Hermès around the world, and served as "interior creator" for the Hermès museums in Tokyo and Seoul. His latest collaboration with the French luxury house is The Gift of Time, a whimsical take on the Hermès story, told through poetic displays, humorous installations and colourful sensory discoveries.

On a recent visit to Hong Kong where the exhibition made its debut, I had the honour of meeting the man behind this installation. Although McConnico has had Parkinson's disease for over a decade, his eyes lit up as he explained to the group of journalists the concept behind his latest creation.

It was difficult to put together this exhibition because "time" is such an abstract concept, he says. But that didn't stop him from taking on this project. In fact, Parkinson's disease let him discover things in a different way and made the whole process of putting this exhibition together an interesting one.

McConnico is a brilliant storyteller. He's not afraid to use imagination and cleverly juxtaposes fantasy and reality to create a sensory experience. His narrative begins at The Origin of Time - a sundial on an astrological scarf, and the shadow cast on the fabric is that of a horse, paying homage to the rich and storied heritage of the house. "Never forget, the first role of Light is to make the Dark more beautiful, and not to measure out the days," is scribed on a scarlet wall.

At the circular display - past Free Time, Time Suspended, Balanced Time, The Stroke of Time, Imaginary Time and The Gift of Time - McConnico's sumptuous imagination and masterful colour manipulation come to life in gorgeous displays that dig deep into Hermès' archives.

Whether it's a deconstructed Talaris saddle suspended in mid-air, a giant pixelated cat face (made of leather) on a door or a luminous tree that sits in the middle of a room, the works here is a welcome respite - albeit temporary - from the daily grind.

The Gift of Time was in Singapore from 1 - 12 August at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station before making its way to Lille, France.

HERMÈS MUSEUM AND PETIT H

IN THE GIFT OF TIME, VISITORS ARE SURROUNDED BY TREASURED ITEMS FROM THE CONSERVATORY, HERMÈS MUSEUM AND PETIT H
 

THE THREE SADDLES

THE THREE SADDLES IN TIME SUSPENDED PAY HOMAGE TO HERMÈS' EQUESTRIAN PAST.
 

ARTIST MCCONNICO

ARTIST MCCONNICO USES POETIC AND HUMOROUS DISPLAYS TO TELL THE STORY OF HERMÈS.