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  • Literature

    Sophie Lovell, Limited Edition: Prototypes, One-Offs and Design Art Furniture, Basel, 2009, pp. 188-189 for similar examples

  • Catalogue Essay

    Revolution, whether caused by uproar in the street or the quieter convulsions of the artist’s studio, shocks. Onlookers never saw it coming. Agitators who break from the past seem to come from nowhere. Dutch modernist Gerrit Rietveld was one such example. His iconic ‘Red Blue Chair’ of 1923, an elementary composition of lines and canted planes, must have arrived from the remote tracts of a singular imagination. The reality is more complex. Rietveld, as critic Paul Overy has discussed, was anticipated by vernacular Dutch furniture and by Frank Lloyd Wright’s planar harmonies. Today’s fruit was borne from yesterday’s seed. Dutch designer Sebastian Brajkovic’s ‘Lathe 1’ demonstrates the point, although more explicitly than Rietveld’s work. As one might describe an arc by turning a compass, Brajkovic stretches the right and left profiles of a 19th-century armchair into a rounded seat with conical back, a circular sofa known as a ‘borne.’ Cabriole legs, seat, and top rail distend as in a hallucination. The chair’s upholstery follows suit: flowers embroidered near the antique margins of the work dissolve into concentric lines. Action painting comes to mind. As if spun or spinning on a lathe, the armchair appears subject to a tremendous implied and applied force. Is it time passing? The artistic will? Fashion? In the case of ‘Lathe 1,’ Brajkovic references outmoded forms to create an update of an outmoded form, but the effect feels à la mode. Brajkovic belongs to a cohort of contortionists—Jeroen Verhoeven, Vincent Dubourg, Shao Fan—who distort antique furniture to create wholly new silhouettes. To borrow an expression from Ellen Lupton, curator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Brajkovic is both “abstract and referential,” similar to Verhoeven. Unlike so much furniture sitting heavily on the floor, ‘Lathe 1’ moves: it compasses time and space. That’s no small revolution.
     
     
    Brajkovic's 'Lathe VIII', from the same series as the present lot, is currently on view in 'Telling Tales', The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 14 July-18 October 2009

     

75

‘Lathe 1’

2008
Bronze, embroidered upholstery.
85 cm. (33 1/2 in.) high, 114 cm. (44 7/8 in.) diameter
Self-produced, The Netherlands. From the edition of eight.

Estimate
£30,000 - 40,000 

Design

15 Oct 2009
London