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Nick Ross’s Objects of Ambiquity Series

In the fictional narrative behind his Objects of Ambiquity series, Nick Ross is a designer from the future who’s been hired by a history museum called The Institution to work as an “object mediator,” delving into the origins and possible uses of any mysterious artifacts the rest of the staff can’t identify. When he presented the project at the Konstfack graduate thesis show earlier this year — including his White Lies table (pictured above), A Mirror Darkly, and Baltic Gold shelves — he staged the presentation as if it were a snapshot from The Institution itself, his pieces being among the targets of his imagined discovery process. “The story of Objects of Ambiquity is a vessel used to highlight the role of fiction within historical records,” says Ross. “While doing this, it simultaneously questions the designer’s possible future role within this context and how this will alter our understanding of what a museum is.” The White Lies table, for example, examines how hard it is for us to accept new discoveries that fundamentally alter what we thought we knew about historical events and cultures (in this case, the fact that many ancient Greek and Roman statues were actually painted in bright, some might say “garish,” colors). A Mirror Darkly reflects on how much conjecture is involved in the analysis of ancient objects. Read on to learn more about both objects and see how they were made.NR_1“Part of The Institution’s collection, which I used to curate a fake museum when I exhibited my project at Konstfack’s graduation show.”
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NR_3“Images from the archives of Stockholm’s Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities. (Courtesy of Medelhavsmuseet Stockholm)”
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NR_6“Craftsmen creating the spun-copper back of A Mirror Darkly, which was inspired by ceramic bowls from the Stone Age that historians suspect may have been filled with water and used as mirrors.”
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“The copper is blackened with silver oxide, then sealed with a coating of Carnauba wax.”
NR_9“The digitally printed glass-laminate mirror that sits inside the copper base.”
NR_10“An early prototype of the mirror — it took about seven attempts to get the oxidation/waxing right, since I was perfecting the technique as I went along.”
NR_mirror“In addition to my graduation show, the final piece was also shown in Milan in May at Spazio Rossana Orlandi.”
NR_12“The White Lies table began as this pile of Carrara Bianco offcuts, seen here at Dansk Marble’s workshop in Carrara, Italy. It explores the idea that the ancient Greeks and Romans — who are seen as symbols of artistic and cultural good taste — we now know painted their sculptures in bright colours. They seem so garish that it’s hard for people to accept them as true representations.”
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My beautiful picture“The table’s form was made by turning it on a lathe.”
NR_15“The raw table’s arrival at Konstfack, where I did the finishing process before the graduation show.”
NR_16“Testing various blue tones, paint mixes, and spraying techniques on white laminate boards.”
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NR_18“Spraying the table in the spray booth at Konstfack. The paint which was used in the end was a transparent graffiti spray, applied to the marble in more than 10 layers to achieve the proper gradient.”
NR_work4Baltic Gold shelves in raw polyurethane and brass, also part of Ross’s Objects of Ambiquity series
NR_work2A chair from Ross’s Domestic Selections series, in collaboration with Fraser Reid
NR_work3Trophies for the Arts & Business Scotland Awards 2011, also in collaboration with Fraser Reid