EXHIBIT - AUTONOMOUS DESIGN
May 1 – September 12, 2021
835 N Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069
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Opening in May 2021, Autonomous Design presents the work of seven contemporary Danish artists, designers, and architects at the Schindler House on Kings Road. Functional, practical, commercial: terms long-associated with the applied arts are too often misperceived as a hindrance to the creative process. The recent work of Denmark’s designers has rendered these ‘restrictions’ as vehicles for innovation. Curated by Priscilla Fraser and working in collaboration with the Danish Arts Foundation, this exhibition will focus on contemporary applications of craft and design in Denmark, exploring this concept of motivation to interrogate design’s agency in a post-functional world. Participating designers and artists include benandsebastian, Cecilie Bendixen/Sophus Ejler Jepsen, Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm, Kasper Kjeldgaard, Margrethe Odgaard, MBADV, and Eske Rex.
These seven designers explore ever-evolving questions of authorship, autonomy, and intention in their multifarious practices. Eske Rex’s Drawing Machine quite literally illustrates the innumerable forces of input, from manual to seismic interference, while Kjeldgaard’s manipulations of natural fibers, beeswax, cork, and brass study material reaction under the influence of physical qualities of friction, rotation, and gravity. Odgaard’s textiles along with Halstrøm’s embroideries investigate the impact of impression and perception through catalogued studies of color and pattern. MBADV continue their obsessive exploration of material-generated fabrication and form, moving between marble, rattan, ceramic, and oak, while benandsebastian’s installation questions the value of the object entirely through the dialogue of artifice and artifact. Bendixen’s large-scale sculptures of concrete cast in textiles, steel, and burlap result in a spatial organization so foreign and unfamiliar it feels at once prehistoric and post-apocalyptic, challenging the very concept of time as a quantifier of culture.
benandsebastianbenandsebastian (Ben Clement, born 1981, United Kingdom; Sebastian de la Cour, born 1980, Denmark) are interested in how meaning becomes embedded in spaces that evoke absence, and how particular gaps in knowledge, such as lost objects, broken artifacts or excluded narratives, act upon the imagination. This can be seen in their ongoing work, Museum of Nothing, which exists as a series of departments installed in institutional contexts: most recently Department of Voids, at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, and at Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen.
Cecilie Bendixen, Sophus Ejler Jepsen (b. 1975, 1971) are a collaborative duo. Cecilie Bendixen is an artist and architect drawn to natural phenomena. She poetically explores the way in which essential dynamics can be captured by her sculptures through different materials and methods. Sophus Ejler Jepsen works with concrete in a landscape- and vegetation-sensitive process, applying the improvisational construction principles of the adventure playground (building-playground) to the formwork and in-situ casting.
Chris Liljenberg HalstrømChris Liljenberg Halstrøm (born 1977, Denmark) established her studio in 2007 after graduating from The Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen with prior studies in Stockholm, Sweden and Berlin, Germany. In 2017 Halstrøm received the Three Year Work grant from The Danish Arts Foundation / Statens Kunstfond. Halstrøm is interested in working with familiarity, openness and anonymity as topics in order to create new expressions and purposes for objects. She applies this interest whether working with companies such as Skagerak and Design Within Reach, clients for interior projects, or with objects for exhibitions. In addition to running her own studio, Halstrøm is part of the duo INCLUDED MIDDLE together with textile designer Margrethe Odgaard.
Eske RexEske Rex (born 1977, Denmark) is based in Copenhagen. His works are created at the intersection of profound craftsmanship and poetic resonance, creating vibrant spaces around them. Rex graduated from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Furniture and Spatial Design, Copenhagen 2008. He has received the Finn Juhl Prize (Denmark, 2019), and the Three Year Working Grant from Danish Arts Foundation (2016). He has made permanent commission work for The International Criminal Court in The Hague (The Netherlands, 2015). Recently he has exhibited works at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanasawa and Verbeke Foundation, Belgium.
Kasper KjeldgaardKasper Kjeldgaard (born 1983, Denmark) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts of Design in 2016. In a poetic universe of balance and suspense, Kjeldgaard explores and communicates aspects of nature, such as friction and gravity, in the process of making. Kjeldgaard’s work has a refined expression with a clear emphasis on craftsmanship. His objects hide nothing, and rather lay their inner workings bare, available for decoding. Kjeldgaard’s works have been exhibited at Mindcraft in Milano, The Curio – Chart Art Fair and at Patrick Parrish Gallery in New York, among others.
Margrethe OdgaardMargrethe Odgaard (born 1978, Denmark), a textile and color designer, applies herself to the sensual quality of color in the surface. With her intense focus on the interaction of color, material and space, she aims to become clearer about how we as humans experience and emotionally connect with the world around us. Her exhibition catalogue includes solo exhibitions at Willumsen’s Museum (DK), Röhsska Museum (SE), Designmuseo Helsinki (FI), and Munkeruphus (DK). In 2015 she received the Three-year work grant from The Danish Arts Foundation and in 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Award (SE). In addition to running her own studio, Margrethe Odgaard is part of the design duo INCLUDED MIDDLE together with furniture designer Chris L. Halstrøm. She graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design in 2005 with additional studies at Rhode Island School of Design in USA.
MBADVMBADV is a Copenhagen based studio founded in 2013 by furniture designer Maria Bruun (born 1984, Denmark) and architect Anne Dorthe Vester (born 1984, Denmark). Intrigued by the notion of the dialogue, MBADV often focuses on abstractions, like idioms, functional hybrids, and on the aesthetics of materials and form in relation to surrounding spaces – all created with attention to the crafted detail. In 2014 MBADV debuted with the distinct work series ‘Objects of Use’ at Etage Projects. The following year the series was awarded the National Solo Prize at the Spring Exhibition. MBADV has had solo exhibitions at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen and in Bagsværd Church designed by JørnUtzon. They have presented their works on the international design and art scene on prominent platforms such as Etage Projects in Copenhagen, Mindcraft in Milan, Design Miami Basel and Patrick Parrish in New York. MBADV is represented by UK based gallery FUMI.
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