NYLON WILD http://nylonwild.com ART, DESIGN AND CULTURAL REPORTAGE: NEW YORK — LONDON Sat, 27 Mar 2010 15:20:17 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9 en hourly 1 Two/Four Considerations http://nylonwild.com/lon/twofour-considerations http://nylonwild.com/lon/twofour-considerations#comments Fri, 26 Mar 2010 16:53:20 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=798 Recently I visited Michael Landy’s Art Bin at South London Gallery, followed in the evening by the new exhibition at Gallery S O, an installation by Hans Stofer.  The two shows were both examining objects and process; Landy, very specifically in the failures of making them and Stofer capitalizing on moments of flux in making, embracing the ability of knowing when to stop with a series of still lives and installations.

In the morning at the Art Bin-I literally threw one of my Biography Vases into the giant steel frame/plexi box. It was the second to last day and by that time the bin boasted a huge pile of creative wreckage, including some notable failures from artists such as Damien Hirst and Gillian Wearing.  I had the idea that if I could get my vase to perhaps shatter on top of one of the more famous failures it could be worth the material cost. NOT THE POINT and didnt happen anyway.

South London Gallery

My experience in throwing porcelain. hahaha.

Landy’s initiative for the project was to question the  ownership, implications of destruction, value and preciousness. Interestingly, while so many artists dropped their work into what the artist called a “monument of creative failure” there was still image  protection on the bin, not because of Mr. Landy but because every artist had not signed the release for the work to be photographed. This made it quite clear that the totality did not truly consider their work as a subject of creative failure, but rather a means of publicity- letting go is absolute release no!?  So unfortunately the only pictures i could take were the exterior of the gallery (which is good for those who dont know what it looks like) and a picture that the gallery attendant took of me throwing it in.

Later I headed to Gallery S O, for the opening of a show by Hans Stofer, who is head of the GSM&J department at the RCA. The exhibition showcased collections of household objects alongside his metalwork and jewelry. In these still lives he examines both the chaotic and organizational beauty that exists within a collection. There were readymades that had been slightly altered,  side by side with more conceptual metalwork and jewelry, the incorporation showed a heeded consideration to what goes on beyond a creative endeavor, acknowledging studio surroundings to be as much a piece of work as the work itself.

A wall sported glasses hung by oversized man-head nails. By the door three boxes with protective glass covers, housed collections of tableware covered in foil, and spun across the door was a wedding band held captive by a metal spiderweb.  Metalwork & jewelry is a genre of the arts which like many others, is best viewed when the titular expectation is forgotten- and is one that can be appropriated to any scape, in this case of the Gallery S O, fielding itself as a whimsical studio.

Give me the Swiss passport

Malene and the Silver Cowboy

The Silver Cowboy

Band entangled in metal web

Foil-covered tableware


Skeleton on the Door of Boats

Sea Glass

Studio Cart

Marlboro Cross

Bucket Stools

Nail Heads



http://nylonwild.com/lon/twofour-considerations/feed 0
Contemporary Contrast http://nylonwild.com/ny/contemporary-contrast http://nylonwild.com/ny/contemporary-contrast#comments Sun, 14 Mar 2010 05:03:06 +0000 Jonathan Lee http://nylonwild.com/?p=706 Artists, academics, administrators, auctioneers, benefactors, bloggers, collectors, consumers, critics, curators, editors, educators, gallerists, historians, museum professionals, writers, and the public all play a role in interpreting the value and meaning of art (monetarily, metaphysically and professionally). Not unlike other industries, the art world has its own types of events which collectively shape the product, production and dissemination of art. Of all events (openings, exhibitions, symposia, biennials etc) the art fair seems the most overtly commercial, where galleries stand side by side competing for the art world’s attention and hopefully, investment. I visited two very different art fairs last week and learned a lot about the specific type of value I look to derive from art itself, but raised many more questions about art as commodity and the forums used to generate commerce.

The entrance to the Independent – "Please god make tomorrow better" Claire Fontaine

The Independent was packaged as a hybrid art fair organized by gallerists Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook in what use to be the Dia:Chelsea building on west 22nd. The approach and organization of the temporary exhibition was similar to a massive group show of galleries instead of a group show about artists. The show split the four floors between 40 galleries and was free and open to the public during the NY art fair weekend. I found it refreshing that the galleries and organizers where able to allow for a fair amount of presentation and coherence within the open and relatively un-programmed floor spaces. Each floor used some simple layout and temporary walls (and sometimes exhibit objects) to differentiate itself from the last. In the stairwell, a Dan Flavin light installation connected each floor together while making everyone look blue.

Dan Flavin Installation


The crowd at the opening was young and fashionable. If they weren’t young they must have been young at heart because I don’t remember seeing any misfits of the profile. The great thing about any young and burgeoning scene is the intense nature of it’s participants. Everyone I saw at the opening whom I knew and chatted with, eventually left me to GO CHECKOUT THE WORK.

Giant inflatable (and deflating) rat reciting the ABC's from Glengary GlenRoss

Gabby watching Ryan Trecartin at the Elizabeth Dee reinstallation of "P.opular S.ky (section ish)", 2009

Detail, Ryan Trecartin "P.opular S.ky (section ish)", 2009

"360 illusion II" by Jeppe Hein – two rotating mirrored planes turn the room top side down and back again

DMC12 aka the DeLorean - for Duncan Campbell's documentary film "Make It New John"

My least favorite room was a collaborative effort from the high-end design retail store Moss and independent art curators, Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner. The room was the only “exclusive” room in the show and was presented as an exhibit within an exhibit. It was titled “this that & then some” and paired design objects with art objects and presented them as a grouping. My initial distaste of the mini-exhibit did not stem from a dislike of the objects or their pairings, which were harmless and seemed about as related as anything else in the fair – it came from a deeper discomfort with the portrayal of design as equal to or symbiotic with art object. It was as if design was bullying into the art world through a hollow and arranged marriage with little meaning or respect for either partner. It really seemed to disservice both the art/design objects and the work that had to go into them, because the work individually was beautiful and good.

Stanze di Raffaello II, Rome by Thomas Struth and Illuminated Crucifix by Michal Fronek & Jan Nemecek

"Untitled" (cube) by Sol LeWitt and "The Other: square side table" by Ilse Crawford

My favorite work by far was a video by Jordan Wolfson that portrayed coke bottles filled with milk marching across the screen through an abandoned urban landscapes. There while a female voice reciting her inner thoughts aloud and occasionally taking vocal stage direction from a quieter male voice. The coke bottles changed in number but continually walk through the landscape making a gravely crunching noise as they go. Sometimes the orientation of the screen begins to rotate lazily as you tumble through the dark recesses of this woman’s mind. It was trippy, but gripping and real.

Still from "Con Leche" by Jordan Wolfson

I left the Independent and headed uptown in a rickshaw driven by JC, who was wearing a hot pink polka-dot suit and a tinsel cape. If you ever see him around you should go for a ride. He took me to the Armory Show on west 55th for a deal because he is super nice and said he said he was getting a little bored. On the way there we talked about art and a zombie video he was shooting in Bushwick. This only happens in New York.

Going for a ride on the nicest day — ever.


If you google “art fair” the Armory Show comes up third in the results list, not exactly scientific but enlightening none the less. The Armory Show is a massive event, located on the piers 92 and 94, drawing thousands of visitors at $30 a ticket. It is America’s “leading” art fair and pulls both international artists (or their galleries) and international visitors in waves and hordes. You can find unknown or lesser known artists in a little white cubicle right next to the biggest headline grabbing art stars. And maybe that is the problem. There is no way to navigate this fair in any meaningful way beyond the mode of shopping. You are in an art mall, the difference between this and a museum is that you can buy this work and you can take pictures and there are no security guards to stop you.

Welcome to the art mart.

Olafur Eliasson's photos of vehicles and crossings

Taking the opportunity to reflect. hahaha

british bad boys g&g

"Cinemap – eleven films on request" Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Not to say it was all bad. One of the highlights for me was the Josephine Meckseper installation at Elizabeth Dee’s space at the Armory Show. It was an extremely surface oriented installation comprising of mirrored, shiny, pop, facist, and sexist (or sexy) items, and I immediately felt and appreciated the irony of the situation and it’s juxtaposition at the show.

Josephine Meckseper

Josephine Meckseper

During fair weekend the Armory is the main event and all the other events seem to be the side shows. The Armory is simply a massive “establishment”. It is a necessary and important event that brings some of the world’s best artists and galleries to the greater NY public – but I don’t think that is good enough. I bring a lot expectation to the table when considering the two shows, one is established, rich and ticketed, the other young, open, and free. The Armory Show has a slew of corporate sponsors, there was an Acura SUV next to the stairs, the only car at the Independent was a Delorean and I don’t think you could buy it (unverified). I imagine I am the wrong demographic for the Armory Show: I am not rich, I do not collect art, and the value I derive from art tends to be for creative, inspirational and sometimes professional reasons. The two shows couldn’t have felt more opposite and I wonder if it is time to replace the outmoded, unspecific art mall and create something in between the two fairs? Can a niche, curated art fair remain small and focused, but function well monetarily for the gallerists and subsequently the artists they represent? This raises some questions for me about how to be profitable in the art world, I imagine it is no small task or even one that can have accurate formulas or models for projection. I guess the simplest way to look at it is that first, the art is created. Everything else that follows is some form of commerce of that art’s secondary markets. So what can we try next?

"the handle comes up the hammer comes down" by doug aitken

http://nylonwild.com/ny/contemporary-contrast/feed 0
Christian Gonzenbach http://nylonwild.com/lon/christian-gonzenbach http://nylonwild.com/lon/christian-gonzenbach#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2010 17:04:59 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=659 Last Thursday a gaping pair of ostrich-leg boots patiently awaited a recipient at the closing reception of Christian Gonzenbach’s show at Gallery S O titled “Domestic Wildlife Collection”. It was here that a discussion started earlier in the day at the RCA continued; a discussion on his theories of whales. The Swiss artist studies histories and processes, how an animal or object achieves its identity through physicality and material composition.  This is done in the language of nature and animals, with the use of skins, addressing and asking questions of the interior and exterior, of material and spiritual possessions. When does an animal become and animal, and how much needs to be removed before it attains a new purpose, perhaps a functional marketable skin? What is the molecular and spiritual composition of identity?

Gallery SO, Domestic Wildlife Collection

Inside-Out Pets

Ostrich Leg Boots

Gonzenbach was recently working on a mold of a whale, coating the inside surface with a self-formulated skin of clay and plaster, painted black. While the whale would never exist, the mold became a fossil.  He stated that for him whales were imaginary, that he was from the mountains, not the ocean, and since humans no longer have a (legal) trade relationship with these creatures, we justify them in our minds based on modern mythologies instead of first-hand informed practices. When whaling was a valid business, people had to accomodate themselves to this size, creating machines and tools based on a mammoth scale, solidifying their existence.

The presumption of what makes the world we inhabit as it is, remains a human condition that he investigates and humorizes. We cant possibly experience or see the instigations of all form but we wonder. It wasn’t until after attempting to recount my experiential whales, I realized that with the exception of rather small beluga whales in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the famous, undying Shamu at Seaworld in 1993, I had never actually seen a whale in its habitat. Even on a whale watching boat off the coast of Maine, I spent hours with my parents and sisters imagining that each little white-capped wave would manifest into a fin or blowhole, to the point where it was a hallucinatory game- there were beyond doubt whales under the surface but none to be seen!

This presumption of experience is normal, and it made me assess how much of my knowledge is physically uninformed- the answer being most of it. Something as ancient as a whale is a poetic example of how severe this condition may be, and there is certainly the psychology of the oceanic unknown that renders it a beautiful example of loss. The philosophy of this thought is hundreds of books deep – my notion a miniscule particle topping an iceberg that I’ve heard is mostly submerged.

Inside-Out Donkey

Inside-Out Donkey

Gallery Detail

Stop animation of Chicken and Weasel exchanging skins

Eraser Arrowheads

Clay bear shot with gun


Similarly to the whale mold, Gonzenbach creates his own meteors, not by sculpting a meteor but by creating the matter that would violently and gradually deteriorate a substance; Throwing rocks at clay. When I think of meteors there are massive rocks hurtling themselves towards our stratosphere, but of course I assume this is what happens, based only on the knowledge of huge blemish-like craters in the midwest and the shards of specimens in Natural History museums.

This work made me think of these two projects- which while being slightly different in conception, still represent the solidification of imaginary experience and the replication of an iconic source of greed and commerce.

Photo by Damon Winter for The New York Times

“The artist Duke Riley does some last minute work before launching his replica of a Revolutionary War-era submarine, built of plywood and fiberglass and ballasted with lead, off Pier 41 in Red Hook, Brooklyn on Friday August 3, 2007″ Quoted from the New York Times article.

Balaenoptera Musculus by Tom Sachs. Photo is copyright of Tom Sachs

“For the other installation, Balaenoptera Musculus (2006), a life-sized reconstruction of an 18-metre long blue whale, Tom Sachs took his inspiration from the whale model hanging in the ocean life hall at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York. The whale, which, for its size, Sachs calls adolescent, is made in foam core, cardboard, and white polyurethane foam, a material often used or architectural models. ” Quoted from the Fondazione Prada Press Release.

http://nylonwild.com/lon/christian-gonzenbach/feed 0
Sulki & Min Choi http://nylonwild.com/ny/sulki-min-choi http://nylonwild.com/ny/sulki-min-choi#comments Thu, 18 Feb 2010 20:15:33 +0000 Jonathan Lee http://nylonwild.com/?p=618 Sulki & Min Choi stopped by to show us some of their work and talk about their recent activities. It was really great to meet graphic designers who are operating with such a strong conceptual approach to their work. They also shared a range of books and posters from their imprint Spector Press. Both are Yale MFA Grads and were researchers at JVE prior to establishing a permanent practice in Korea. They are really great people and great designers so check them out and order some books.

Min & Sulki

Many nice things to look at

Sasa 44: Annual Report 2006

Cover Sasa 44: Annual Report 2006

Perspecta 35, Excercise in Modern Construction part 3, Our Spot: New York

1/4: Oriëntatie

SKMoMA Highlights — a ghost publication that mirrors the form of a true MoMA Highlights catalog. Featuring the works of Korean contemporary artists, for the fictitious South Korea Museum of Modern Art.

SKMoMA Highlights — spreads mirroring each other

Catalog for Hyungkoo Lee’s solo exhibition at the Korean Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia, 2007.

stills from slideshow

stills from slideshow

stills from slideshow

stills from slideshow

still from slideshow



thanks to sulki & min

http://nylonwild.com/ny/sulki-min-choi/feed 0
Jasper Morrison http://nylonwild.com/lon/jasper-morrison http://nylonwild.com/lon/jasper-morrison#comments Tue, 16 Feb 2010 15:01:25 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=576 This past week I took some work and travelled for the first time to Stockholm for the furniture fair. I was fortunate and thrilled to hear that Jasper Morrison was exhibiting his specimen collection of jugs, jars and pitchers, having missed it at London Design Week last September. Tucked away in the century-old, basement kitchen of  art collector Wilhelmina von Hallwyls’ antique-laden residence, the show was a great relief to the peripheral week of modern scandinavian furniture.

The kitchen seemed to be the only room in the house that wasn’t surfaced in decorative collections, appropriately so for Morrison’s ideology of “super normal”, purely function-based design.  The collection is a hand-picked group, plucked from thrift stores, flea markets and Morrison’s own home. Representing everyday life, which is the circumstance of pure function, the collection has a wonderful lack of pretention about its proposition of what makes vessels function as they do. The presentation is made without added context,  the purpose is to simply observe typologies of jugs, jars & pitchers.

As I am studying ceramic design, I found this collection to be a pop-up text book of function. An imperative question for design is why a new form should exist to serve the same purpose as millions of existing specimens are floating around in the  object stratosphere. Morrison is a designer who observes his predessesors, and offers new proposals, combining functional success and removing hindering qualities of form and material.  In the end his objects are equal in their visual anonymity, adding to the progressive timeline of industrial function. This could not be done without this level of observation.

Hallwyl Museum Kitchen


Watering Can

Teapot Specimen

To see this exhibition which is essentially pure research, without the glamour and pretention of a gallery was an interesting contrast to another show in London curated by designer Konstantin Grcic, titled ”Design Real” at the Serpentine Gallery. The work of both designers is exclusively function-based, although Grcic perhaps implies more biographical form to his work than Morrison.  The show at the Serpentine presents functional design as sterilized gallery work, by having plinths, white walls and minimal description; It proposes function by the standard of art, removing the observers inclination to get extremely close or touch. Morrison’s show on the other hand eliminates the gallery logic entirely, and uses a functional space to display functional objects- it could potentially be mistaken for the work of a neurotic house-keeper. The designer/curator is something that is being seen more and more as disciplines aggressively and publicly use one other in collaborations. Based on these two shows, what the designer, or maker, presents is seemingly more valuable in the aspect of proven observation, of what designers are competing with and what they deem successful.

Stove Detail




Hallwyl Kitchen

Hallwyl Museum: Hamngatan 4, 111 47 Stockholm

The exhibition “Jugs, Jars & Pitchers”  is presented by Forum magazine and Henrik Nygren Design.

Forum is the Magazine for Scandinavian Architecture, Interiors and Design. Issue no.1 for 2010 includes an excellent article based on discussion with Morrison in regards to his new show.

http://nylonwild.com/lon/jasper-morrison/feed 0
If You Could Collaborate http://nylonwild.com/lon/if-you-could-collaborate http://nylonwild.com/lon/if-you-could-collaborate#comments Wed, 27 Jan 2010 20:41:15 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=529 Last week London art directors Will Hudson and Alex Bec launched their fourth annual show titled If You Could Collaborate. The show featured 33 pairings of designers and artists at A Foundation Gallery, all who were given 12 months to produce across disciplinary borders. Collaboration seems to be one of those methods that for me, seemingly for the RCA, is divinely attractive. I am finding in my recent attempts that it is not always magical and I think I brought a little screen of skepticism with me when seeing this work, which for the most part diminished after considering the different approaches. Certain pieces in here seem holistic in concept, material usage, and aesthetic; Others are perfect specimens of two ideas, two ways of working that form visible hybrids of styles. Having seen the gamut of approaches I found some that were logical, expected, and others that had less refined outcomes. Either way- it seemed like the point, whichever side of the fence they landed on. This show had no shortage of conceptual depth or eye candy- definitely looking forward to next years!

There is an excellent catalog available here. Below are some images and links to both sides of the collaborations. Project descriptions where quoted are taken from the If You Could website:

Praline + The Model Shop:

“Praline have been creating brilliant design solutions for many years, from publications and branding, to websites and exhibitions. Always looking to add humour and clarity to their work, they’re not put off by the size of a project, working with both large organisations and smaller outfits, including esteemed clients such as the Pompidou Centre and Tate Modern. After meeting The Model Shop of architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, through a previous commission they decided they’d like to extend their working relationship a little further. Ending up with a new font, and physical scale models interpreting its shapes.”

Praline and The Model Shop


Ian Wright + Riitta Ikonen

Ian Wright and Riitta Ikonen

Detail of Helmet

Ian Wright and Riitta Ikonen

Max Lamb + Gemma Holt

I first saw some of Max Lamb’s work at the Johnson Trading Gallery in NYC. It happened to be a week before I was moving to London to attend the RCA and ended up finding an adjunct show in Hoxton with more of his work. I felt the piece that Gemma and Max created was an alternative interpretation to the collaborative theme. More so, it considered the circumstance of the show and took the idea of collaboration as a way of doing something site specific rather than an amalgamation of professions. Besides- herringbone is the new houndstooth.

Max Lamb and Gemma Holt

Craig Ward + Sean Freeman + Alison Carmichael

Craig Ward, Sean Freeman & Alison Carmichael

Fred Butler + No Days Off

“A well-loved member of the fashion industry, Fred is a truly influential creative force. Known for making beautiful props and accessories, there’s no more solid proof of her class than knowing she’s worked on commissions for the likes of Vogue, i-D, Dazed & Confused, MTV and Selfridges as well as her own personal collections. With design studio No Days Off, she is launching the Eight Days A Week campaign, petitioning for a little bit extra time….”

Fred Butler & No Days Off

Karl Brandin + And Beyond

“Karl Grandin is a creative who is difficult to shoehorn. You may find him working as one half of design team Vår, as co-founder of fashion label Cheap Monday, or as a successful freelance illustrator. What you won’t find is him producing a bad piece of work. A varied portfolio, which is infused with a swagger of someone with an inherent desire to create.

By collecting familiar elements from flags, detaching them from their sources and putting them back together in new combinations, he and Dutch fashion designers And Beyond have created a new world in the form of an oversized flag.”

Karl Brandin & And Beyond

Marion Deuchars + Margaret Calvert

Marion Deuchars & Margaret Calvert

Rob Ryan and Michael Marriot

“There are a thousand words we could use to describe Rob Ryan’s work, and all of them are superlatives. Hyperbole is something we usually try and steer away from when describing artwork, but it’s tough to do Rob’s work enough justice without it. A combination of heartfelt sentiments, both beautifully depicted and exquisitely cut, confirm you’re in the hands of a true great when presented with a Rob Ryan piece.

Given a canvas to execute his work by Michael Marriott in the form of a flatpack rocking chair, the duo have produced a piece of furniture I’m sure lots of people will want to get their hands on.”

Rob Ryan and Michael Marriot

Job Wouters + Roel Wouters

Job Wouters & Roel Wouters

BCMH + Smith & Wightman

This was one of my favorite pieces in the show. The team created currencies based on production and material cost. I love the idea of objects being tactilely/physically representative of their value and not just conceptually so.

BCMH + Smith & Wightman

http://nylonwild.com/lon/if-you-could-collaborate/feed 0
Peter Fischli & David Weiss http://nylonwild.com/ny/peter-fischli-david-weiss http://nylonwild.com/ny/peter-fischli-david-weiss#comments Sun, 10 Jan 2010 15:09:52 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=472 Peter Fischli & David Weiss are basically my favorites from the realm of celebrity artists, and Matthew Marks currently has given them the attention of all three of his Chelsea galleries. This show is almost over! It ends on the 16th and I strongly recommend a visit.

The show is in three parts, the first (in the order that I visited them) is Clay and Rubber at 523 W24th. This show included 26 objects that span the past three decades of the duo’s rubber casting and hand-built clay works. I have seen some of these pieces at their Tate Modern retrospective, but the lot is an amazing spectrum of elemental beauty in objects. The clay pieces are primarily models of machined, recto-linear objects. Marks of the artists hands are proximally apparent, subtly highlighting the surface and distinguishing their over-sized forms from a real smooth-cast brick, sono-tube or chain-link. The rubber objects contrast as casts of natural or highly detailed forms, and the material is often hidden by the original detail of the pieces. Both of the materials engage the viewer and the object, negating the importance of purpose and true material, allowing the pure form of everyday objects to be considered. The gallery was also perfect, in that it didn’t overwhelm the objects with massive space, but was large enough to investigate the pieces with/out the context of the others.

Matthew Marks Gallery@ 523 West 24th

Wood Table, 2005, Black Rubber, 157 x 96 x 45cm

Raven, 1986, Black Rubber, 28 x 41 x 14cm

Chain, 2009, Reinforced clay, 14 x 107 x 14cm

Little Wall, 1987, Black Rubber, 77 x 34 x 41cm

Root, 2005, Black Rubber, 60 80 x 60cm

Stairs, 1987, Black Rubber, 36 x 87 x 53cm

Drawer, 1987, Black Rubber, 14 x 51 x 43cm

Down the street at 522 West 22nd is Sun, Moon and Stars, an exhibition of a book that F&W started as a project for an annual report. The book is pretty daunting to flip through, but here I spent quite a bit of time re-examining the flats which I thought were more successful than the original format in conveying the visual and topical similarities. Below is quoted from the MM press release:

Sun, Moon and Stars is an encyclopedic accumulation of 800 magazine advertisements culled form hundreds of international periodicals. Begun as a project commissioned by a Swiss corporation for its annual report, the finished project is displayed in thirty-eight wood and glass tables, totaling 330 feet in length. A dizzying reaction to late capitalism in various chromatic groupings, the ads are shown in a specific order that exploits the formal, thematic and color similarities between advertisements.”

Matthew Marks Gallery@ 522 West 22nd

Case Detail

Case Detail

Case Detail

Case Detail

Gallery Detail

Resting next door at 526 West 22nd, are the deflated avatars of Fischli & Weiss, titled Sleeping Puppets. Rat and Bear were first shown in the film The Least Resistance, 1981, and The Right Way, 1983 ( translated dialogue quoted below) Click on the links to watch the films.

“BEAR: Do you see the moon? Look at it carefully.

RAT: I need more stones. We have hardly begun.

BEAR: I’ve been watching it. It’s like me.

It comes and goes.

Always on the move…looks at everything.

It does what it pleases.

RAT: So you want to leave.

BEAR: What am I suppose to do? Are you staying here?

RAT: Now all it needs is a roof

BEAR: Good. I’ll come with you.

RAT: I’ll leave the stones here..

BEAR: …but I’m taking the dream with me

Into the unknown.”

Bye Bye! Matthew Marks Gallery @ 526 West 22nd

Peter Fischli & David Weiss

Matthew Marks Gallery

October 30, 2009- January 16, 2010

http://nylonwild.com/ny/peter-fischli-david-weiss/feed 0
Roger Hiorns http://nylonwild.com/lon/roger-hiorns http://nylonwild.com/lon/roger-hiorns#comments Sun, 10 Jan 2010 03:07:46 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=426 Before the end of the year I visited the Turner Prize show at Tate Britain. One of the short-list artists, that fell to the golden Richard Wright, was Roger Hiorns who was nominated for his amazing off-site installation called Seizure. There was no photography allowed at the Tate but I was able to get some shots of  ”Seizure” which was installed in an abandoned 1970’s council building at Elephant & Castle.

While waiting on this line I had vague notions of what was inside the building, which is that Mr. Hiorns crystallized the space with copper sulphate.  Additionally I was given these instructions, and an interview which I am including excerpts from below.

“Take great care when entering and leaving. There is a step. Walk slowly and carefully throughout. The floor is very uneven. Mind your head. Surfaces are sharp, and many crystals hang down. You may touch the walls but please dont break or damage the crystals. Do not attempt to climb or sit on the surfaces.”

Installation Site

Standing outside the viewer is presented with the emotional aspects of this abandoned building. There is the expectation that it’s desolate, empty, and has been an eventual failure as a structure, socially and constructively. It is now a by-product that is unquestionably uninhabitable and has yet to be worth the cost of demolishing.

Upon entering the stark low-rise, I stepped into a coveted jewel box, a crystal-encrusted flat, something that appealed to my childhood anticipations of discovering hidden spaces. I haven’t seen copper sulphate used as a material since I was in science class trying to grow rock gardens (oh yeah- and Tokujin Yoshioka’s Venus Chair- interesting to look at alongside Hiorns), but nothing remotely challenges the scale which Hiorns presented here. It was psychologically and visually heavy. The manner that it addresses the architecture is that of a secretive moss, or heavy dust covering, but in an apocalyptic, violent sense, almost to the degree that volcanic lava might cover a landscape and leave vague reminders of a historical form. This covering was actually still growing, while the building adversely was in a state of decay.


Bath coated in Copper Sulphate Crystals

James Lingwood, Co-Director of Artangel, conducted an interview with Roger Hiorns for the text titled The Impregnation of an Object, July 2008:

JL: What led you to the kind of architecture which would host the project? The space we found is quite specific and there is the idea of working in a small part of a larger whole, where the living spaces were replicated, all the same size with all the same configurations.”

RH: I have a deep interest in Brutalist architecture and the best example of that is the Robin Hood Estate designed by Alison and Peter Smithson in Poplar in East London. That was the place I was initially thinking about.

JL: What is it about the Robin Hood Estate?

RH: It was the first of its kind in London and one of the most extreme. These buildings were about containing large groups of people who were all living in the same kinds of places and being encouraged to think the same kinds of thoughts. There was the idea of a collective, the dream of growing together for the greater good, and I suppose I have always been very distrustful of the collective, it’s like my attitude to religion. These kinds of buildings don’t work, as a model they have not passed the test of time.”

“JL: These kinds of buildings began to deteriorate quite quickly. By the 1970’s they were already in bad shape.”

RH: They’re still somehow rather beautiful, they seem to carry the stain of life, to take in everything they were experiencing. I am always interested in this material called experience and what that would be. The grinding of an engine is an experience. The collective nature of the place is a kind of experience, an amalgam of memories.”

Details of Main Space(L) and Entry(R)

Ceiling Detail


“RH: I am completely objective about my own artwork, I can stand outside of it and work out whether it should exist or not. That’s why I use materials which enable me to be detached, materials which are their own thing, have their own genetic structure. Rather like copper sulphate is as auto-genetic, my work is also auto-genetic, it tries to make some sense of my psychological position and then basically makes itself.

JL: What about the blueness of the crystals-was that something else that attracted you to the material?

RH: The color was always a sidetrack for me, it was never about the beauty, about claiming something to be a beautiful object after it had undergone the crystalizing process. That would just be banal, though banality is not a bad thing always.”

Seizure was commissioned by Artangel and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, in association with Channel 4 and also by the National Lottery through the Arts Council England.

http://nylonwild.com/lon/roger-hiorns/feed 0
MMM http://nylonwild.com/ny/take-it-or-leave-it http://nylonwild.com/ny/take-it-or-leave-it#comments Sat, 02 Jan 2010 22:05:17 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=290 I’m in New York briefly before returning to London, and it happens to be the one week where most galleries are closed due to the Christmas/New Years holiday! New Years eve led me to the MoMA, along with the rest of New York. Struggled through the Bauhaus & Tim Burton shows, and by habit checked out the design and architecture galleries which showcase a rotating selection of MoMA’s permanent collection. This never fails to impress. My favorite aspect of this gallery is the central showcase, which is a jewel box of product designs from the past century. Braun always has a substantial line-up of products here, more than not by Mr. Rams.  The “Less and More” show at the Design Museum in London creates such a cohesive time line of his work, and here is was nice to see single specimens alongside products from contemporaries. For the millionth time I realize how wonderfully timeless all of these products are, the work being present for precisely that reason. Most of the participants have lived by the staples of modernist principles, building a roster of manifestos which have yielded decades of iconic design.  To kick-off the New York posts here is some eye candy from the showcase at the MoMA along with some manifestos (take it or leave it!) to inspire the New Year.


Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design,                   Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.

Portable Transistor Radio & Phonograph (Model TP1) 1959,Design by Dieter Rams, manufactured by Braun AG, Frankfurt, Germany, Plastic Casing, Aluminium Frame, and leather strap

Rolf Harder, Alcan Foil Pamphlets for Aluminium Company of Canada, lithograph, c.1960-62

Case Detail

David Gammon, Turntable, Polished aluminium, brass, plywood and acrylic, manufactured by Transcriptors Ltd., New York, 1964

Enzo Mari, Timor Perpetual Calendar, plastic,manufactured by Danese S.r.i, Italy, c.1966/ Massimo Vignelli, Max-2 Stacking Cup,plastic, manufactured by Heller Designs Inc. c.1970/ Pio Manzu, Chronotime Clocks, ABS polymer casing and metal parts,manufactured by Italora, Milan, c.1968

Adolph Loos, excerpt, “Ornaments and Crime”, 1908
The change in ornament implies a premature devaluation of labor. The worker’s time, the utilized material is capital that has been wasted. I have made the statement: The form of an object should be bearable for as long as the object lasts physically. I would like to try to explain this: a suit will be changed more frequently than a valuable fur coat. A lady’s evening dress, intended for one night only, will be changed more rapidly than a writing desk. Woe betide the writing desk that has to be changed as frequently as an evening dress, just because the style has become unbearable. Then the money that was spent on the writing desk will have been wasted.

Massimo Vignelli, excerpt ,”The Vignelli Canon”, 2008

Whatever we do, if not understood, fails to communicate and is wasted effort. We design things which we think are semantically correct and syntactically consistent but if, at the point of fruition, no one understands the result, or the meaning of all that effort, the entire work is useless. Sometimes it may need some explanation but it is better when not necessary. Any artifact should stand by itself in all its clarity. Otherwise,something really important has been missed. The final look of anything is the by-product of the clarity (or lack of it) during its design phase. It is important to understand the starting point and all assumptions of any project to fully comprehend the final result and measure its efficiency. Clarity of intent will translate in to clarity of result and that is of paramount importance in Design. Confused, complicated designs reveal an equally confused and complicated mind. We love complexities but hate complications! Having said this, I must add that we like Design to be forceful. We do not like limpy design. We like Design to be intellectually elegant – that means elegance of the mind, not one of manners, elegance that is the opposite of vulgarity. We like Design to be beyond fashionable modes and temporary fads. We like Design to be as timeless as possible. We despise the culture of obsolescence. We feel the moral imperative of designing things that will last for a long time. It is with this set of values that we approach Design everyday, regardless of what it may be: two or three dimensional, large or small, rich or poor. Design is One!

Ladislav Sutnar, Build the Town Blocks, painted wood, c.1940

Ladislav Sutnar, Build the Town Promotional Cards, paper, c.1940

Ladislav Sutnar, Build the Town Promotional Cards, paper, c.1940

Walter Gropius, “Bauhaus Manifesto”, 1919

The final goal of any plastic activity is the building! To decorate it was once the most noble task of the plastic arts; they belonged intimately to the component parts of the great art of architecture. Today, they delight in an autonomy that may, again, lead to a collaboration among all creative artists.

Architects, painters, and sculptors must relearn to known and understand the complex form of the construction as a whole and in its element: Then their works will be filled again with the architectonic spirit that they lost in the art of the drawing room.

The old art schools could not achieve this unity, and, anyway, how could they have done it–art being unteachable. They must turn again to workshops. The universe of model draftsmen and of those who work in the applied arts, a universe where one limits oneself to drawing and painting, must finally rediscover the universe of building. When the young man who feels the call for plastic creativity first learns a trade, as in the old days, then the unproductive artist will no longer be doomed to unfinished works, for he will have a trade, a capacity to excel in something.

Architects, sculptors, painters, all of us, we must return to manual work! For there is no “professional art.” There is no basic difference between the artist and the artisan. The artist is just an elevated version of the artisan. Thank heaven, during rare moments of light that are beyond his control, art flourishes unconsciously from the work of his hands, but the knowledge of the basics of his work is indispensable to any artist. It is the source of all creative production.

Let us therefore form a new union of artisans, free of the arrogance that led to a separation of classes and built a wall of arrogance between artisans and artists! Let’s have the will to do it, let’s conceive and achieve together the construction of a future that will unite everything: architecture, sculpture, and painting in a single formation, and that one day will rise toward heaven, the shining symbol of a new faith.

Diagram of the Bauhaus Curriculum

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, “Working theses”, 1923.

We reject all aesthetic speculation, all doctrine,and all formalism. Architecture is the will of the age conceived in spatial terms. Living. Changing. New. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, only today can be given form. Only this architecture creates. Create form out of the nature of the task with the means of our time. This is our work. O F F I C E. B U I L D I N G. The office building is a house of work of organization of clarity of economy. Bright, wide workrooms, easy to oversee, undivided except as the organism of the undertaking is divided. The maximum effect with the minimum expenditure of means. The materials are concrete iron glass. Reinforced concrete buildings are by nature skeletal buildings. No noodles nor armoured turrets. A construction of girders that carry the weight, and walls that carry no weight. That is to say, buildings consisting of skin and bones.

http://nylonwild.com/ny/take-it-or-leave-it/feed 1
Stuart Haygarth http://nylonwild.com/lon/stuart-haygarth http://nylonwild.com/lon/stuart-haygarth#comments Fri, 25 Dec 2009 23:52:31 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=229 The other week I saw the Stuart Haygarth show titled “Found” at Haunch of Venison. Having only seen one of his chandelier pieces at the re-opening of New Museum in NYC a few years ago, it was great to see his newer furniture projects alongside a collection of his lighting. The furniture is successful by his process, re-purposing meticulously curated collections of found objects, but there is a quality to his lighting that literally and conceptually elevates objects beyond their industrial disposition. The lack of this relationship in the furniture is perhaps because we are already adept to accessing and using objects at these proximities, in these positions. Objects, functional or not, are experienced by being picked up, turned, thrown away, packed, stored, displayed…  Adversely, the chandeliers force us to look up through the lenses and eyeglass frames used in the collection, effectively displacing the viewer and the objects an equidistance from their utilitarian relationship, revealing new emotional typologies.

Cabinet Detail

Cabinet Detail

The lens-frame chandeliers, called urchin lights, are so evocative in their possession of  historical reference, I felt they were the most successful pieces in the show. Displayed in the only darkened room in the gallery, they loom over the  viewer in an unmatched cluster of three, initially ocean-like in their presence. Once under them, they attain more robotic and skeletal qualities. Seeing so many tiny clavicle-like frames is instantly reminiscent of described holocaust remains, personal objects that were indefinitely part of daily life, an enabler, a dis-abler, a by-product. In grouping such an immensity of frames, the objects are considered on levels of dispossession, the sinister suggestion of an object’s ability to persevere beyond the life of its owner. This possibly is an objects greater life, from the time of abandonment to reincarnation.

Urchin Light

Urchin Light

Urchin light detail

Urchin light detail

Urchin light detail

Urchin light detail

Lens Chanelier

Lens Chandelier

Lens Chandelier Detail

Lens Chandelier Detail

Conical Lens Chandelier

Conical Lens Chandelier

Detail from center

Detail from center

Other favorites were the table lamps whose bases were adorned with the obsessive cat and dog collections often thrown to the second-hand shop.


Ceramic Figurine Lamps

Cat Detail

Cat Detail

Bottle Cap Floor Lamps

Bottle Cap Floor Lamps

The Stuart Haygarth show “Found”, will be up at Haunch of Venison, 6 Burlington Gardens
London W1S 3ET, through 30 January.




http://nylonwild.com/lon/stuart-haygarth/feed 1
V&A Project http://nylonwild.com/lon/va-project http://nylonwild.com/lon/va-project#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2009 02:26:09 +0000 Melissa Gamwell http://nylonwild.com/?p=172 For the first term project at the Royal College of Art we were asked to choose an object from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s new ceramic gallery, create a replica and produce an interpretation. Nearly a week after considering hundreds of objects, which are displayed in a stunning strand of spaces on the third floor, I finally landed on a French porcelain cosmetics jar, originating from a factory in Mennecy, outside of Paris in pre-revolutionary 17th century France. My initial attraction was due to its hundreds of seemingly identical flowers coating the surface. Any object oriented between the typologies of industrial production and delicate craftsmanship usually catches my eye, and this piece in particular, despite my feeling that it was too simple of an object ( which I now retract entirely), became my focus for the past 8 weeks.

  Cosmetics Jar, Mennecy, France, 1755. Soft paste porcelain with hand-pressed decoration(left) Mennecy II, London, 2009. Slipcast porcelain, casting wax, graphite, plaster(right)

Cosmetics Jar, Mennecy, France, 1755. Soft paste porcelain with hand-pressed decoration. Approx 16 cm x 13cm(left) Mennecy II, London, 2009. Slipcast porcelain, casting wax, graphite, plaster. Approx 28cm x 18cm (right)

Aside from the technical challenges I was particularly interested in the life of such an object and its user. This jar would have been part of a set, living on an impressive vanity where the ritual of beautification would occur. Both the 17th century french royalty and the bourgeois court were heavy subscribers to the cosmetics industry. Ointments and powders were used to make the skin appear more fair and white, which was a visual proclamation of the luxury of service, situated well beyond a sun-cast, agrarian means of living. Despite the privilege, cosmetics at the time used arsenic as an ingredient, which lead to skin disfigurements and fatalities.

I love that an object can possess such a dichotomy, sourcing beauty and disfigurement, and inherently also be a decorative particle of another surface. When developing an interpretation, my focus was derived from the temporal quality of cosmetics as a surface device, and how it might integrate an object abstractly with a person and their environment.

The form itself became an exaggeration of the original Mennecy jar, but now coated in a series of residual materials that will fade and deteriorate on the vase, while making marks on the person and their habitat. Consequently the object will become a record of its use, questionably more unsightly or constantly cleaner, more deteriorated or progressively beautiful with age.

Here is a visual time line of the project showing varying stages of the process.

First attempts at throwing porcelain

First attempts at throwing porcelain

The original jar and lid would have first been thrown in a soft-paste porcelain on a wheel, then turned by hand to create the decorative marks and shape. The flowers are hand made and immediately applied.  For my attempt I experimented with different templates to accommodate the form of the original, and also created a plaster tool to aid in the production of the flowers.


Base form with and without floral application

Original Mennecy Jar ( left) and replica ( right)

Original Mennecy Jar ( left) and replica ( right)

Details of the replica object

Details of the replica object

One of my earlier reactions to the form and use of decoration was to invert the expectation of flourish by creating the texture/subject/interest on the inside of the vessel. While I was also contemplating the final direction of my interpretation, I made a test study for this concept ( which was also used as a glaze test). I will definitely be developing this concept further for another project called secret fauna@ secretfauna.com

Inverted Mennecy, London, 2009. Hard-paste porcelain. Hand applied flowers and horses.

Inverted Mennecy with hand applied flowers and horses. Hard-paste porcelain. Approx 13cm x 9 cm





Below are some sketches that were made from the original thrown forms which began to dictate the forms of the final interpretation. These were thrown spontaneously  and after living with them in my studio  I began to see them as small sketches of how I might go forward.

Thrown sketches

Thrown sketches

This led to more refined forms turned in plaster for casting.

Turned plaster forms

3 form developments in plaster

Porcelain Casts

Porcelain Casts

Porcelain casts and color sampling

Porcelain casts and color sampling

Porcelain casts

Porcelain casts

When considering materials to coat the surface of the vases, I experimented with colors and textures that I felt had a notion of cosmetics and that historically related to objects and object-making. One of my first thoughts was to use red wax because it  reminded me of the body, blood & femininity. It also works as a nod to lipstick & rouges.  I was very attracted to the residual quality of wax, in that despite the color, if you are to touch it, you end up repelling other kinds of matter, rather than obtaining a visual mark. Contrary to that I also started testing graphite mixed with binders, which makes it a bit harder and slightly less transferable, reminiscent of an eyeshadow or pencil. Finally I tested plaster with different gradients of tint, to reference a finely pressed powder.

Porcelain sample dipped in wax

Porcelain sample dipped in wax

Tinted plaster swatches and porcelain samples dipped in plaster

Tinted plaster swatches and porcelain samples dipped in plaster

Porcelain samples dipped in varying consistencies of liquid graphite

Porcelain samples dipped in varying consistencies of liquid graphite

Final prototypes:

Slip cast porcelain with wax, plaster and graphite coatings

Slip cast porcelain with wax, plaster and graphite coatings

Graphite and plaster transfer

Graphite and plaster transfer





Here is an article about the renovations of the new V&A ceramic galleries:


The Anish Kapoor exhibit:


http://nylonwild.com/lon/va-project/feed 2
Design Museum http://nylonwild.com/lon/design-museum http://nylonwild.com/lon/design-museum#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2009 16:29:56 +0000 Jonathan Lee http://nylonwild.com/?p=120 Here are a few images from two exhibitions currently on view at the Design Museum – British architect David Chipperfield’s Form Matters and Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams. Both Chipperfield and Rams are very serious in their approach to design, and both are incredibly formally oriented. I got the sense that this was an intentional scheduling decision on behalf of the museum, and found it interesting to consider and experience both shows sequentially.

Form Matters Entrance

Form Matters Entrance

The Chipperfield show seems to be a more carefully considered show, the space seemed more complex and the flow of the show seems a little more natural. I imagine the second floor gallery easier to program, than the split-up third floor galleries. The show featured video, images, drawings, and most importantly models – almost none of which are depicted here, for whatever reason I only took images of the wall graphics (the strongest part of the visual identity of the show).

Project/Wall Graphics Detail

Project/Wall Graphic Detail

Project/Wall Graphic Detail

Project/Wall Graphic Detail

Wall graphic detail

Project/Wall graphic detail

Less and More felt a lot looser in program. The products were placed in rows on long rectangular pedestals or tables, a few inset in vitrines etc. but I am not sure this was really the best method of display for the work. It did allow for a full view of the prducts in most cases, but the result seemed similar to a sidewalk sale or antique furniture shop. Another side affect of the long tables was the simplicity of movement through the space, the tables acted as long galleys that felt restrictive or too committal. I really enjoyed seeing so much of Dieter Rams’ work, but I felt the show lacked coherency or even a very clear message.

Two interesting moments occur in the show – my favorite was a sort of faux living room filled with Rams’ furniture and products. This was actually the most conventional area of the exhibition design – but it had a nice cumulative effect to be able to see all his pieces next to each other. Finally, there was a case at the very end of the exhibition, with a few pieces from the museums collection that were made by designers (Ives, Morrison, Fukasawa) of later generations whom were “influenced” by Rams’ work. I found this moment weak, and such a missed opportunity. This is precisely the argument the show wanted to make, but perhaps the process of clearing the rights and exploring the idea of inherited language and influence loomed too large a problem to address. Rams’ work of course clean, beautiful and rigorous – either way it was worth seeing first hand.


Main Room

Main Room



Braun Radio

Braun Radio




Tabletop Design in case with text label


Dieter Rams life

http://nylonwild.com/lon/design-museum/feed 0