‘Biblical, Brutalist, Bauhaus and Bakersfield…’
Evolution by its very definition suggests change. The design objects in this exhibition, created over the last two years, represent the shifting preoccupations of a singular imagination. The show consists of furniture including seating – stools, benches, chairs, and the monumental Récamier sofa. Of lighting – the massive marble sconces and the totemic floor lamps in black and white marble. A desk in stained plywood and small tables in bronze or aluminium. Each piece has its own unique energy and dominates the space it inhabits. When the work is grouped together, as it has been for this exhibition, Owens’ particular vision of beauty and his idea of an anti-utopian environment become apparent.
Owens’ anthropomorphic stag benches, chairs and stools are at once organic and architectural, forming the basis of his design credo. These pieces combine basic geometric forms – rectangles, squares, and triangles – deconstructed into the abstract essence of form. Like in the work of Le Corbusier, function or at least the appearance of function, takes precedence over ornament. These sharp modernist lines and mathematical shapes are juxtaposed with the biomorphic - antlers flow from plywood. This evolution from man-made to organic is a recurring theme in the furniture of Rick Owens and this contrast is echoed by his choice of material. The economy of plywood meets the luxury of fur, marble, and bronze. The work is alive with a conflict that in a single piece of furniture appears to resolve itself. With the work in this exhibition Rick Owens has given us a glimpse of a world that is somehow part of the past and of the distant future.
Born in 1961 Rick Owens founded his own fashion label in 1994 and in 2002 presented his first runway collection at New York Fashion week winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America Perry Ellis Emerging Talent Award. In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award. Rick Owens has emerged as a seminal figure in fashion and has stores in London, Paris, New York, and Tokyo. His furniture was first exhibited in Paris at Jousse Entreprise in the fall of 2007 and has subsequently been shown at art and design fairs including Design Art London, FIAC, Design Miami/Basel, and Design Miami.
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