duendepr.com news Kuntzel + Deygas, visual characters

Kuntzel + Deygas, visual characters



The Kuntzel + Deygas tandem is part of the discrete aristocracy of French visual creators whose work is known by the entire world: the opening credits to Steven Spielberg’s Catch me if you can, the iconic La Petite Robe Noire Guerlain character, the MiCha Lamp (sold at Bon Marché) and the two existential Italian dogs Cap & Pep whose adventures livened up the days of Colette and Vogue Japan. Since 1988 Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Deygas have created characters and objects who live adventures in different worlds: cinema, fashion, luxury and music.


Olivier and Florence met in 1988 for a video installation at the Centre Georges Pompidou: A wool carpet drawn by Kuntzel, animated by Deygas, whose graphic features charge at a young boy. After viewing the movie, the spectators hastily went onto the carpet and proceeded to try to bring out the patterns with their small hands, not understanding why the carpet remained motionless. This became both the starting point and the manifesto to their joint journey between objects and image. “A cross without Christ is just a simple piece of wood. An object without its legend is nothing. Once it is charged with history, it becomes magical.” Describing their approach when creating characters, Kuntzel and Deygas remind us that the word “character” also refers to typography, where the assembly of marks, symbols and letters (all characters) are used to convey meaning. He is a graduate from the Arts Décoratifs of Paris, she studied at the Gobelins, the Ecole de l’Image in Paris in the animated film section. They became the pioneering generation of video image along with Jean Baptiste Mondino and Michel Gondry, custodians of an organic vision of the world brought to life through digital technology.


Kuntzel + Deygas invented their very own vocabulary, claiming the simplicity of drawing paired with high technology, luxurious hybridisation at the service of emotion. “Organic creation enhanced by sophisticated technology. Our aim is to make sure we never spoil the charm and innate power of the sketch. At the time, we were like an haute couture atelier, where everything was done by hand, with the conviction of beauty, not economic savings. We held strong to remain true to ourselves instead of following trends.” Success came gradually in the 90s: their universe lit up our screens: opening credits, clips, advertisements. A simple sculpted architect’s eraser became the standard object for each of their animations. An eraser transformed into a simple and malleable stamp, whose production in Austria had to be exclusively reactivated for the duo, after it had succumbed to the forceful hits of Apple + Z on the Mackintosh. In the noughties, nothing is left to erase, but there are characters and objects to animate. With these sculpted erasers Kuntzel+Deygas invent the characters of Caperino and Peperone, known as « Cap » and « Pep », the black silhouettes of two existential dogs, voluntarily interplaying thesis and antithesis in their conversations about the world.


1998 marks the beginning of an intense relationship with Colette, the concept store with an aura travelling far further than Paris, emanating out to the rest of the world. In December 1999, Colette exhibits the Winney project (a political-fictional-dystopia project with a tendency for fantasy, growing in Oliver’s mind since 1981, the year of Ronald Reagan’s election – former actor turned American president), closely followed by the first “pre-series” edition of the MiCha Lamps in the year 2000 (still sold at the bon Marché) and pursued by the hosting of the Cap&Pep project within its walls during several years.


By the year 2000 their photo studio was so full of workbenches, drawing tables and computers that when photos needed to be taken all the furniture had to be shoved and everyone was subjected to darkness. While walking their dog in the 18thdistrict of Paris, Kuntzel and Deygas found their ideal location to set up their factory, a former 400m2 mirror manufactory, made entirely of panels, wood and cement. A machine workshop is found at the basement level and a passageway overhangs the Petite Ceinture (a former Parisian circular railway). They gather all of their tools, their books, a ton of architect erasers and the stock of their works within this new space. The new configuration is the step enabling them to pass a turning point in the organisation of their work.


They equip themselves with their very own servers to calculate their images and work in self sufficiency on confidential projects, such as the music video of ‘L’amoureuse’ by Carla Bruni, first lady of France at the time and under high media scrutiny. It is within this studio that they create a series of prestigious opening credits for films beginning with Catch Me If You Can by Steven Spielberg, followed by The Pink Panther by Shawn LevyLe Petit Nicolas by Laurent Tirard, Palais Royal and Agathe Cléry by Valérie Lemercier,  and more recently Tanguy le retour (coming out in April 2019) by Etienne Chatiliez.


It is also within this magnificent mirror manufactory that the advertisement saga for the perfume La Petite Robe noire de Guerlain saw the light of day as of 2012. A prime example in terms of image, of visual status and recognition, a drawn character became the face of a perfume in the same way as an actrice or model would! With la Petite Robe Noire, Kuntzel + Deygas become creators, both gods and apostles of their very own character. Unique.


The two accomplices present Articulation at the Joyce Gallery from the coming 28th of May until the 15th of June, an exhibition ofdrawings, objects and music revolving around movement and dialogue. Poster-drawings, storyboard inks, anthropomorphic speakers and soundtracks all converse and join together to compose the outline for an imaginary film sketched out by two great sound and image creators


Kuntzel + Deygas : Articulation

From the 28th of May until the 15th of June.

Vernissage Tuesday 4thof June from 5pm until 9pm 

Galerie Joyce 

168 Galerie de Valois

75001, Paris

Tel +33 01 4015 0372

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 12 :00 – 18:30, Saturday 14:30 to 19:00