Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Against the Grain: exhibition of wood at the Museum of Arts & Design

I've enjoyed revisiting the art shows I saw while in New York. Posting to this blog helps me to consolidate my thoughts on what I have seen. I hope you've enjoyed sharing these reflections with me.

Here is the last of the shows I will post about, "Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design", which runs at the Museum of Arts & Design through September 15, 2013.
Scrapwood Wallpaper,
Oak Chairs in Scrapwood

Piet Hein Eek, Netherlands 

For those of us who are fans of patchwork, here's a photo of two chairs camouflaged against some wallpaper. The artist says (of a cupboard made of the same material) that it was "my reaction against the prevalent craving for flawlessness. I wanted to show that products that weren't perfect still can appeal to our sense of aesthetic and functionality." Note that the wallpaper is not made of wood, but of paper, printed with a digital image of scrap wood.

A Custom Sabotage by Metered Events
(inspired by Dwayne Johnson's Mouth), 
Phoebe Washburn, United States

Says the curator's note for the work at right, "The potential for wood textures assembled and assemblaged from different sources to suggest space and narrative is seen in the work of sculptor Phoebe Washburn.... The surfaces of her wood structures focus us on the ingenuity of her combination of found and used elements...."

Wooden Textile Walnut, Elisa Strozyk, Germany

At left is a third piece with references to patchwork. Laser-cut wood pieces are bonded to viscose fabric (which is actually made of cellulose). "Strozyk reclaims wood veneers left over from workshop projects and shapes them into small pieces before attaching them to the backing by hand. ...[Her invention] is seen as a response to an increasingly immaterial world."

Grapes, Ai Weiwei, China

One of Ai Weiwei's "recurring themes is the questioning of our attitudes towards history and tradition. In this work he clusters stools that he describes as dating from the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911) in such a way that their seats are bunched together - like grapes," compromising their functionality. The artist "debunks the preciousness with which we regard 'antiques' and raises questions about the veracity of such antiquity as promoted in the market."

King, Shao Fan, China

At left is a piece made by Weiwei's compatriot, Shao Fan.

"This particular work combines a chair from the Ming Dynasty with a contemporary one. Through this juxtaposition Shao commented on the cultural changes and contrasts that he experienced in China today. It also is a 'tongue-in-cheek' commentary on the presentation of modern reproductions passed off as antiques that is a common practice of antique dealers."

Nest chair, Nina Bruun, Denmark

Here are photos of two novel pieces of furniture, that show some of the innovative things that can be done with wood. First, Nina Bruun's chair, made of ash and inspired by a bird's nest.

SOFA_XXXX, Yuya Ushida, Japan

Finally, this ingenious accordion sofa is constructed of bamboo chopsticks and steel fasteners, and may be expanded and contracted.

SOFA_XXXX, Yuya Ushida, Japan (detail)

Says the artist, Yaya Ushida, "the beauty of the simple geometrical structure and its repetition always fascinates me." Trained as a mechanical engineer, Ushida is fascinated with bridges and structures such as the Eiffel Tower.

1 comment:

Heather Dubreuil said...
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