ESSENCE

ESSENCE can be an elusive quality. The Outsider/The Insider consists of two chairs in one. ‘The Insider’ is a slender white chair cast in white concrete, with detailing that is reduced to the absolute minimum. While ‘The Insider’ strives for a purified ideal, ‘The Outsider’ carries the complexities of potential. Its fragmented form comprises the wooden shuttering in which ‘The Insider’ is cast. In contrast to the slender white ‘Insider’, the ‘Outsider’ is structurally elaborate and detailed, with its soft wooden and hard casting surfaces, its segmented shapes and its multiple hinges. ‘The Outsider’ is constructed to be un-folded and opened up, thus slowly revealing ‘The Insider’ in stages –  in a form of undressing.

The Outsider / The Insider invites us to reflect on the enormous complexity and energy needed to convey an appearance of simplicity.


A R T I S T

“The Insider resembles the sort of cartoon archetype of a chair that a child might draw. The question is how we construct our idea of a chair. How what seems simple, obvious and effortless is in many ways the opposite. We made these chairs for an exhibition whose theme encouraged puritan design statements. This made us want to ask how design objects that achieve an essential character of simplicity have now become luxury status symbols. Kändler’s eagles belong to a very different world of Baroque excess. What caught our interest was the fact that these ornate birds ended up white, thereby revealing their manufacture from hard paste porcelain in an entirely new process hitherto unknown in Europe. In our modern eyes, this lack of colour, like the bareness of once colourful classical statuary, has become value-added..”

M U S E U M

“Just as The Outsider/The Insider shows us essential chairness, so the Meissen birds seem to reveal the very essence of what an eagle or a Paduan cock is. In fact this is not what birds look like at all. They have been changed into symbols of something else. The eagles are sleek, proud, and arrogant while the Paduan cock is the strutting image of complacent vanity. But are eagles particularly proud? Do cocks, be they from Padua or elsewhere, understand the concept of vanity? It is not the essence of the birds, but rather the essence of certain human qualities disguised as birds that we see. This anthropomorphic treatment of nature is found everywhere throughout history . With much elaboration we seek to capture a simple concept or idea. Desperately we twist and turn towards the mouth of the cave to catch a glimpse of the thing itself.”


“Now, if they could talk to one another, would they not suppose that their words referred only to those passing shadows which they saw?’”.

PLATO

“Plato explores these ideas in his discussion of “The Allegory of the Cave”. A simpler way of understanding this metaphor is understood with the idea of “chairness”. For example, the “form” or “idea” of a chair is intelligible, abstract, and applies to all chairs. This Form never changes, even though chairs vary to a great degree – the Form of a chair would never change even if every chair in the world were to vanish.”

ELIZABETH R. SCHROEDER


A R T E F A C T   D E T A I L S

Three Porcelain Birds

(1731)

Various dimensions

Hard paste porcelain

Two white glazed ceramic eagle figurines perching on tree stumps. In addition, one porcelain cockerel. On the back side the number ‘40’ is inscribed.

Designed by Johann Joachim Kändler the porcelain birds were manufactured in Meissen’s celebrated workshop. Originally they formed part of an impressive menagerie, amounting to 296 animals and 292 birds, which was ordered by Augustus II the Strong, Saxon elector, Polish king, and grandson of the Danish king Frederik III, to adorn his Japanese palace in Dresden. They are among a very few survivors as most of this delicate ark was wrecked in the Allied forces’ levelling of that city in February 1945. The whiteness of the Meissen porcelain birds invites the appreciation of each detail in their design and so suavely boasts their creator’s craftsmanship and mastering of the difficult art of porcelain making. To assume that this is the point of them is nevertheless a misunderstanding. The birds were supposed to be painted in naturalistic colours and were never intended to be displayed as we see them here.

  • 2010
Artwork ; Two teak vitrines ; Framed text ; Diasec print

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Artwork ; Two teak vitrines ; Framed text ; Diasec print

  • 2010
Concrete, oak, brass, high gloss paint
44 x 44 x 101 cm / variable

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Concrete, oak, brass, high gloss paint
    44 x 44 x 101 cm / variable

  • 2010
Teak vitrine
187 x 83 x 110 cm

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Teak vitrine
    187 x 83 x 110 cm

  • 2010
Concrete, oak, brass, high gloss paint
44 x 44 x 101 cm / variable

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Concrete, oak, brass, high gloss paint
    44 x 44 x 101 cm / variable

  • 3-OutsiderInsider

    The Outsider / The Insider

  • 2010
Essence
Framed text
68 x 48 x 5 cm

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Essence
    Framed text
    68 x 48 x 5 cm

  • 2010
Diasec print
68 x 48 x 3 cm

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Diasec print
    68 x 48 x 3 cm

  • 2010
Teak vitrine
Exhibition Matter Out Of Place
Galerie Maria Wettergren

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Teak vitrine
    Exhibition Matter Out Of Place
    Galerie Maria Wettergren

  • 2010
Teak vitrine
Exhibition Matter Out Of Place
Galerie Maria Wettergren

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Teak vitrine
    Exhibition Matter Out Of Place
    Galerie Maria Wettergren

  • 2010
Teak vitrine
Exhibition Matter Out Of Place
Galerie Maria Wettergren

    The Outsider / The Insider
    2010
    Teak vitrine
    Exhibition Matter Out Of Place
    Galerie Maria Wettergren

  • benandsebastian

    ‘The work of the collaborative artist practice, benandsebastian, teeters on a cusp between designed physicality and intangible theories of the mind. Trained in architecture and theoretically versed, their sculptures take on elaborate mechanics and boast intricate detailing, yet speak to vast philosophical and sociological systems. It is impossible to concretely anchor their work, an elusiveness made evident in their recent exhibition at the Designmuseum Danmark, ‘Phantom Limbs’.

    Embedded directly within the permanent collection and specifically paired with unexpected inventory from Copenhagen’s Medical Museum, National Museum and the attics of Designmuseum Danmark, their work becomes not only the sculptures on display, but the myriad relationships made between context and object, between body and limb. Evoking the medical sense of phantom limbs, where an amputee still feels the presence of the absent limb, benandsebastian navigate the museum context and call into question the assumed wholeness we expect, perceive and viscerally feel.’

    Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch,
    independent curator, DAMn magazine, issue 33

    EXHIBITIONS
    2018 Solo show: Department of Voids
    Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2017 Everyday Life
    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
    2017 Walk & Talk Arts Festival
    Parque Terra Nostra, Ponta Delgada, Azorerne, Portugal
    2017 Collect
    Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
    2017 Mindcraft
    Salone di Mobile, Milan, Italy
    2015 Göteborg International Biennial of Contemporary Art
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    2015 Keep it Glassy II
    Shanghai Museum of Glass, Shanghai, China
    2015 Solo show: The Beijing Archive
    Institute of Provocation, Beijing, China
    2014 Beyond Reach: Museum of Nothing
    Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2013 Zeigen
    Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2013 Dysraphic City
    Kunstlerraum Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
    2013 Solo show: Following the Museum
    Die Raum, Berlin, Germany
    2012 Treffpunkt Berlin
    Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark
    2011-2013 Solo show: Phantom Limbs
    Designmuseum Danmark and Trapholt Museum, Denmark
    2011 Sculpture Triennial 11
    Odense Kunstfond / Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark
    2010 Pastiche – When a Tree Falls in the Forest…
    Sølyst Slot, Jyderup, Denmark
    2009 KURS: The Square
    Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark

    AWARDS
    2015 Honorary Award from Denmark’s National Bank’s Jubilee Foundation
    2013 ’To Jomfruer’ honorary award
    2012 Niels Wessel Bagges Art Foundation honorary award
    2012 Award from Danish Arts Fondation for the work ’Completely Dusty’
    2011 ’Planken Ud’ Award
    2010 Award from Danish Arts Foundation for the work ’Sådan set er Byen’
    2009 Award from Danish Arts Foundation for the work ’Burial of the Last Queen of Denmark’
    2009 Danish Arts Foundation three year work stipend
    2008 Award from Danish Arts Foundation for the work ’City of the (Re)orientated’
    2008 Winners of Politiken newspaper’s Talent Prize

    RESIDENCIES
    2015 Art Omi
    Omi International Arts Center, Hudson Valley, New York
    2014 Institute for Provocation
    Beijing, China
    2012 ISCP, International Studio and Curatorial Program
    New York, USA

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