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William Amor: the poetry of recovery

Alissa Demorest

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William Amor: the poetry of recovery

Self-taught artist William Amor diverts materials of little value and transforms them into delicate floral sculptures.

William Amor explains that he has always been enamored with flowers. Having spent his childhood in Nancy, in France, he was inspired by the Art Nouveau movement, where “craftsmen left the mark of nature on wood, glass and stone”. He dreamed of becoming a botanist and creating floral hybrids. After embarking on studies in genetic biology his enthusiasm faded in the scientific context and creation came calling. “When I arrived in Paris, I was always in the process of creation; I crafted my first flowers, opium poppies and coquelicots, out of tissue paper.”

Amor’s career path has led him to work in communication, where he represented artists and craftsmen with whom he exchanged know-how. He was mainly involved in haute couture, which uses mostly silk flowers, but the material didn’t speak to him: “I’m too much of a lover of ‘lightweightness’ and ‘living’ things,” he explains. And then came his encounter with his material of choice, the plastic bag. “Inexhaustible, resistant, flexible, transparent and attractor of light... I asked myself, why not start with something that exists, that is undervalued to create a material that has lost its nobility?”

He toyed with plastic bags every which way: by gauging their reaction to heat, transforming them with dye, bleaching them--—in short any technique that would enhance the material. “I wanted to be sure that it was no longer the material that spoke, but the aesthetics of the creative process,” he adds.

Through his experiments, Amor constructed a “texture lexicon” to define the renderings: the tight pleat, the ribbed pleat, the heart pink pleat... He processes numerous ‘found’ materials, but mainly plastic bags, plastic film and bottles as well as packaging. Flower stamens, for example, are made using fishing nets and ropes washed ashore beaches and even cigarette butts.

Amor works for luxury brands and niche players to create décor, jewelry and ornaments, but restricts his projects to small runs or one-of-a-kind pieces. At the Landmark Mall in Hong Kong he installed a 13-meter-high, 25-meter-long floral cascade crafted from locally sourced waste. Running a company with a virtuous approach is an integral part of his strategy and not only when it comes to the materials he uses. He has set up a program to train mentally handicapped workers from the Fondation Franco-Britannique de Sillery in the gestures needed for his floral creations.

This promises to be a rich year for the artist: his workshop is moving to a new atelier in Paris and for the Révélations exhibition late May in the city, he is preparing a suspended work made of hundreds of pleated petals. The event’s Hors les Murs initiative, Manière Matière, is holding a sale at auction house Drouot that will feature three of his pieces. The flowering season is in full swing.

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