Florian Seedorf

Come All Ye Faithful, Curated by Carson Chan

In our most recent Saturday selects post, we pointed out a recent mini-trend of design exhibitions being staged in residential contexts, including the subject of this post: Come, All Ye Faithful, a show in which Berlin-based curator Carson Chan has replaced all of the objects in Zürich curator Florian Christopher Seedorf's home with works by his favorite European artists and designers. Opening last month and running through January 12, the exhibition was timed to coincide with the holiday shopping season, when consumerism runs rampant and people are in a state of frenzied acquisition. With Come, All Ye Faithful — which also functioned as a kind of tongue-in-cheek holiday pop-up shop, since everything in it is for sale — Chan wanted to examine the consequences of all that acquiring. "When purchased objects enter the home, they assume new roles, entangling themselves with the lives and emotions of their new owners," he explains in his curators' statement. "Come, All Ye Faithful is an exhibition that observes our relationship with the objects we live with." Chan took time out of his busy holiday schedule to answer a few questions about the project for Sight Unseen.
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Martino Gamper’s “Tu Casa, Mi Casa” at The Modern Institute

I can think of plenty of designers whose works I’ve never even seen, or those I’ve only seen from afar, either raised on some plinth or sheltered under a vitrine. I’ve had the lucky opportunity, though, to not only see but experience the work of London designer Martino Gamper: walking under his colorful Chair Arch in the courtyard of London’s V&A museum, or digging my feet into the hand-knotted wool Houseplan Carpet he designed for Nilufar gallery in 2009. It’s especially nice to experience a designer like Gamper’s work in person because there’s always the possibility that the piece you’re seeing is the only one of its kind that will ever exist. Gamper has always maintained that he prefers to create either pieces for unlimited production, like his lopsided Arnold Circus stool, or one-offs — with no middle ground between the two. Most of the work on view at Gamper’s new exhibition, “Tu Casa, Mi Casa” at Glasgow’s Modern Institute, falls into the latter category. The majority of the 69 designs created for the exhibition are wholly unique:
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Salone Satellite at La Rinascente

From now until Christmas, pieces by 11 standout stars from this year's Salone Satellite young designers' showcase in Milan will be on view and for sale at La Rinascente. Considering that the Milan-based department store is basically Italy's version of Barneys, this is kind of a Big Deal for those young designers on the verge of stardom. And if the pieces look like they could actually be part of the same collection, perhaps it's because they all tackle the same theme from last year's Satellite: “Design and Craftsmanship: Together for Industry," a typically Italian name that just means that the designers were tasked with figuring out how to retain traditional craftsmanship techniques and processes while still producing for a mass audience. It's also because many of the items draw from a similar materials palette: "This is a compendium of “poor” materials, ranging from wood to glass, to iron to terracotta, reinterpreted and worked in a surprising fusion of craftsmanship and industrial techniques." We've picked some of our favorites to share with you today.
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AmDC x Outpost Journal: Hometown Homage

Last week, we introduced you to Outpost Journal, a magazine founded by Pete Oyler and Manya Rubinstein that investigates American creative scenes outside the likes of L.A. and New York, focusing on a different secondary city each year. This week, we're showing you the results of the magazine's recent collaboration with the American Design Club, which invited young designers to reflect on their own hometowns across the country, no matter how large or small. Exhibited earlier this month at the ever-changing New York boutique Story, as part of its Made in America showcase, the project — Hometown Homage — included a dozen or so objects intended to celebrate "the origins of our creative identities," as AmDC co-founder Kiel Mead put it in the call for entries. "As creative professionals, the environments from which we come – whether a farm, small town, or large metropolis – help to shape our worldview. The AmDC challenged designers to look retrospectively at their hometown experiences to design an object that reflects their heritage, paying homage to their past with skill sets honed in the present." The show itself closed on Friday, but Sight Unseen picked our favorite pieces to share with anyone who didn't have the pleasure of seeing them in person.
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Arnulf Rainer Museum, Foto: Kollektiv Fischka

Oscar Wanless for Riess, at Vienna Design Week

Oscar Wanless is one half of Silo Studio, the London twosome whose unorthodox investigations into industrial materials have graced Sight Unseen more than a few times. But when I met up with him during last month’s London Design Festival, I found that his latest solo project was also more than worth a mention. For this year’s Vienna Design Week, Wanless worked with Riess, a ninth-generation enamelware company based in Ybbsitz, a small town in southern Austria. The factory has been knocking out metal pots and pans since 1550, and enamelling them at its Austrian headquarters for nearly a hundred years as well. Wanless came on board to disrupt the company’s tried, tested, and perfected process.
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Jonathan Muecke for Volume Gallery

Jonathan Muecke makes me anxious. I love his work so much, but I don't entirely know what it means. I love his work so much, but he barely makes any of it. I love his work so much, but I don't understand what he's doing up there in Minneapolis, keeping mostly to himself. However I suppose it's appropriate that he would cultivate the same cool, detached, mysterious air as his pieces, which — when I interviewed him for W magazine back in 2011, the first time he launched a collection with Volume Gallery — he described as "relational objects," things with unfamiliar but contextual functions like "scrambling everything in a room" or "behaving like a mass — something you don't really want to think about." To that end it may be equally appropriate (if not semi-amusing) that on the occasion of Muecke's second show with Volume, opening tonight in Chicago, curators Sam Vinz and Claire Warner asked a psychiatrist rather than a writer to interview him for the catalog, who probed him about equalizing and collapsing before concluding that "I find everything we’ve discussed completely logical, yet strange ... in the true sense of something not yet encountered, or still unknown." We've excerpted a few key moments from the conversation between Muecke and Dr. Brian Stonehocker after the jump, alongside images of all six pieces from the new series.
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Jesse Moretti at Mondo Cane

A few weeks ago, someone on our Facebook page coined the term "zigzag expressionism" to describe the current prevailing aesthetic in art and graphic design. At the time, we laughed, gave the comment a thumbs up, and moved on. But in the weeks since, the phrase has stuck with us — and never more so than when we caught a glimpse on Instagram of the work of recent Cranbrook MFA grad Jesse Moretti, on view now at Mondo Cane gallery in New York. What we like about this phrase in general is its laughable obviousness, but in the context of Moretti's work it actually does describe not only a visual language but a thematic one as well.
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Brent Wadden: About Time at Peres Projects Berlin

Until three years ago, the Canadian-born, Berlin-based artist Brent Wadden had never touched a weaving loom. He was mostly making paintings and drawings, but because so many of them featured complex repeating geometric patterns, he was constantly told by friends and observers that they'd make amazing textiles. Most fine artists would have shrugged off a suggestion like that, preferring to hew closer to their own oeuvre, but not Wadden — he asked a friend for lessons on a laser-cut loom, and then stuck with it until he was making full-scale tapestries on his own and showing them alongside his other work.
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Raphael Garnier

New Abstract at The Printhouse Gallery

Is it possible, in this day and age, to have a new movement in design, à la Art Deco, or Memphis? That was the question we posed to our panel of emerging designers a few weeks ago at the Collective Design Fair here in New York City, and the consensus appeared to be no. (As one participant claimed, "Everything just looks like the internet now.") But this week, a new group show opened in London, curated by Printhouse Gallery's Ruth Hanahoe and illustrator Saskia Pomeroy, that claimed one such new movement. They call it the New Abstract, and they've brought together different media in the visual arts — primarily prints, paintings, and ceramics — all united by a certain aesthetic and informed in some way by the process of making. (To be fair, a lot of the work does look like the internet; perhaps Tumblr is this generation's aesthetic movement.) We're still on the fence about whether the name will stick, but the curators do make an excellent case for the commonalities that tie the work together.
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The Campana Brothers at Friedman Benda

If you’re a longtime reader of Sight Unseen, you know it’s rare that we write about a big-name designer. In part, it’s a question of access — it’s far easier to get an RCA grad on the phone than, say, Hella Jongerius. But it’s also a question of ubiquity: If you read a bunch of design blogs, you’re going to hear about something like Yves Behar’s new Smart Lock until your face falls off. But the Campana Brothers — despite being one of the biggest names in design — have somehow always eluded that extreme ubiquity.
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Furniture 2013 at Johnson Trading Gallery

We suppose a lot could be made of the fact that Paul Johnson’s usually private Johnson Trading Gallery is finally opening its doors for an exhibition at the same time that both the Collective Design Fair and the Frieze Art Fair descend on New York City — and of the fact that Johnson’s former cinema­–turned–gallery space is located in Nowheresville, Queens, pretty much smack in the middle between Collective’s Chelsea pier and Frieze’s takeover of Roosevelt Island. After all, the gallery has always been on the fringes of both design and art, what with its carefully groomed roster of young talent making things that sometimes count as furniture in name only (Aranda/Lasch’s industrial rubber–sprayed Modern Primitives chair comes to mind). But to tell the truth, we’re pretty tired of the whole design vs. art debate at this point. It’s been nearly two years since Johnson hosted an exhibition in New York, and considering this one’s meant to celebrate four young designers who’ve barely yet made a blip on the scene, we were more interested to see what exactly Johnson’s been up to in his far-out lair and who he’s been scouting in the interim.
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5 Platonic Objects by Christian Wassmann at R 20th Century

Swiss architect Christian Wassmann is quite the chameleon: Not only does he seem to float effortlessly between every important New York fashion party, design talk, and art opening, equally at home in every crowd, his work also spans myriad scenes and disciplines — from the interior of a scrappy East Village radio station, to a massive installation with fashion darlings threeASFOUR at the Arnhem Mode Biennale, to his latest project, a suite of transformable furniture for the high-end Tribeca design gallery R20th Century. While we're not sure how to explain his social gifts, his professional versatility comes down to something we here at Sight Unseen can certainly appreciate: Wassmann's longtime appreciation for geometric forms permeates everything he does, and those shapes by their very nature happen to work just as well on a small scale as they do on a larger one. In honor of his first small-scale effort, we did a little interview with him, which we've posted after the jump.
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