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Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Although Thinking through Making ended just over a couple of months ago, it provides us with an opportunity to openly discuss the exhibit. What were Rycotewood trying to achieve? What’s with all the chairs? Can I sit on them?
In short I must answer the following (but don’t worry I’ll try and explain in some further detail later).
Rycotewood were aiming to facilitate an exhibition of celebration and acknowledgement of design through experimentation, thought and process. The chairs are a symbol of this work over an 80 year span that showcases not only internationally renowned furniture giants, but the work and sanctity of recent graduates too. And no, you cannot sit on them.
For those of you who didn’t see the exhibition, let me try and explain its logistics. The Glass Tank itself is a long and lengthy gallery space encased in glass- hence our name. Yet, however beautiful the blend of concrete, glass and basalt is, our space comes with its own limitations. Limitations like a scarce amount of hanging space for 2D works, due to this we must erect temporary walls for our exhibitions which somewhat interrupts the flow of the gallery. Therefore with an exhibition like Thinking through Making, the space is able to breathe when installation, sculpture and minimalism are the bare tools the artist has to work with. These three elements not only work within the gallery space itself, but they highlight the materials, structure and sheer beauty of the gallery. Thinking through Making embodied all three of these elements- a holy trinity of curatorial gold for the Glass Tank. It was an exhibition that sang.
Thinking through Making exhibited seventeen chairs in the Glass Tank. These chairs, all by different designer-makers, were placed on a run of plinths that occupied the central plane and complete length of the gallery space. A ‘catwalk’ of sorts. Opposing the gallery, across the atrium, Thinking through Making continued to show four glass cabinets, each filled to the brim with sketchbooks, notes, prototypes and experiments. All of which are in service of the ‘thinking’ that brought the exhibition together. Adjacent to these four cabinets a projection of looped images of Rycotewood students, designs and finished furniture plays throughout the day.
All elements of this show pay respect to the idea of the designer-maker. The designer-maker can be described as an artist, an engineer, a craftsperson and a scientist. It is someone who embodies research, experimentation and artwork in an amalgamation of energy and perseverance. This is what Rycotewood are trying to communicate to the public. This is what they articulate clearly.
So people can make furniture, albeit beautiful furniture but why is that something to be praised?
Well, there are a number of reasons that I will try to explain for you now.
Thank you to Rycotewood for exhibiting with us and inspiring us.