Purple Art

[April 20 2015]

Soft Baroque “New Surface Strategies” at Garage San Remo, Milan

Renderings are becoming more diabolic and sophisticated, representations of reality are appearing in higher resolution. Meanwhile in the real world thin skins wrap cheap composites to imply value, these imitations, often of the natural, are functional fictions. New Surface Strategies is a fictional function. A rhetorical visual system that examines infinite digital capacity versus the real world. Flexibility of digital imaging allows surface references to fade in and out, without the burden and expense of manual labour. Out of the blue, the digital skin enables the surface to absorb different material identities.

The planks of a uniform dimension are flocked chroma blue to make a pre-finished material, which is cut and assembled together. This type of construction is a reference to Gerrit Rietveld, Enzo Mari and other lo-fi plank wizards, but it is soft and plush, padding out modernism’s sharp corners. By keying out the blue colour, the surface of the furniture can be digitally substituted for another surface input. A live camera feed displays the chairs with altered surface textures applied to deceive the eye. Surface exists indifferently from the physical material and can be more finely tuned to commercial feedback loops. 

Both Royal College of Art graduates, Nicholas Gardner and Sasa Stucin work simultaneously in object design and art. Their London-based practice Soft Baroque focuses on creating work with conflicting functions and imagery, without abandoning beauty or consumer logic. They are keen to blur the boundaries between acceptable furniture typologies and conceptual representative objects. So far they have been showing work at Victoria and Albert Museum, MoMA PS1, Christie’s and Whitechapel Gallery in London, Milan, London, Stockholm and Dubai Design Week.

Photo Sasa Stucin

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