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Back issue for magazine - Damn # 21

Damn # 21 COVER/ KONSTANTIN GRCIC
Konstantin Grcic’s first wooden prototype of the 360° chair (size: 50 x 40 x 80cm, material: pine wood) dates from July 2008 and is featured among the 25 original pieces in the DAMn° exhibition Prophets & Penitents: Confessions of a Chair, which takes place in the heart of Milan at the Oratorio della Passione di Sant’Ambrogio during the Salone del Mobile. The final production of the 360° chair is manufactured in steel and polyurethane foam by Magis and will be launched during the Salone 2009. (cover)
AMERICAN BEAUTIES/CINDY SHERMAN
American artist Cindy Sherman has staged herself in an assortment of guises over the years. Her stories can be at once menacing and tragic, not exercises in self-revelation but heightened understanding and representation of others. In her new Untitled series, Sherman has cast herself as 14 moneyed, American-looking characters that seem obsessed with ageing and social status - images for a generation high on the surgeon’s knife. (1)
PAYBACK TIME/DO PIRATE
When pirates strike at your ideas, there’s no need to go overboard. Erik Kessels of KesselsKramer had nothing to do with Mathieu Maingourd, but when he saw that the French artist was making parodies, not just of his work, but that of Marcel Wanders, Ross Lovegrove, Tejo Remy and the Bouroullecs, he decided to follow the ‘crime’ trail. Reworked, revised, regardless, is mass production bad for an object’s soul? (2)
WANDERS REVISITED/MARCEL WANDERS
Have you ever wondered what design is really about? Well according to the newly relaxed-looking Marcel Wanders fabulousness should not be exclusive in terms of those who can access it. At the end of the delicious day, whether it’s in Amsterdam or Bahrain, it’s design’s job to make life that little bit more groovy.
AIR APPARENT/AN TE LIU
If you want to see explorations and connections between space, architecture, machines, hygiene, environment and modernism, then the sometimes humming airy icons of An Te Liu are both an effectively serious and flippant place to look. From multicoloured 3M household sponges to air-purifying units, he uses a vast constellation of references to make compositional provocations that are hybrid honed. (3)
WHAT GETS ME GOING/ARIK LEVY
Arik Levy has taken his work from the stages of some of the most innovative contemporary dance companies to product development for brands such as Swarovski, Ligne Roset, E15, Adidas, Vitra, Desalto and many more. Enjoyable chaos in print, for him a world of visual noise and intense lifestyle gets his emotional motors working on overtime. (4)
GOLD MINES & TIME BOMBS/ALEJANDRO ARAVENA
The Chilean-born architect Alejandro Aravena wants to have relevancy and impact in his work. For his practice, Elemental, the challenge for today’s architecture is to engage with the daily questions of development, poverty, security etc using the strategic use of form and verified on a broad context. Mayor, finance ministers, billionaire investors and World Bank agents beware, Aravena wants action and he wants it now. (5)
TWIN POWERS/THE RIKLIN BROTHERS
The Zero Star Hotel concept is an ingenious use for bunkers that have given up on waiting for emergency guests. An antithesis to the mundane megalomania and luxury of the hotel business, it’s the work of Swiss twin artists Frank and Patrick Riklin, who have long believed that art should in the middle of life not in the museum. (6)
SCRAP SCULPTURES/STUART HAYGARTH
A palaeontologist of the ordinary or an obsessive collector, Stuart Haygarth, the man previously known as Mr Chandelier Man, has used everything from spectacle lenses to party poppers to craft his sculptural works. His spellbinding way of displacing objects is no zeitgeist gimmick, the hoarded disorder precisely placed to transform the everyday into illuminating treasures. (7)
ASEPTIC WORLD/JULIAN FAULHABER
Every wondered what the world looks like through Tupperware tinted glasses? It looks like Julian Faulhaber never takes his off. The pristine locations he pictures epitomise an artificial landscape devoid of human presence, and represent what the German photographer calls ‘aggregations of spotlessness’. The unsettling results are honest photographs that look false, picturing corporate architecture’s version of the zipless fuck. (8)
ONE ROOF, SIX VOICES/ATELIER A1
Looking for a one-stop shop of contemporary Belgian design? A passport definition of such activity doesn’t really seem to fit the very individual stories of the six designers that share the roof of A1. With the common practice of design, this is a collection rather than a collective, albeit with plenty of room for mind munching over a stuffed baguette. (9)
ROCK AROUND THE BUNKER/PAUL VIRILIO
When flak towers become art galleries it is time to raise questions on the intimate relationship between design, war and society. How can we process the alarming connection between war and the latest trend? Architect, urbanist and bunker archaeologist Paul Virilio believes that war, technological development and the production of culture have always been linked and reflects on the underlying implications for the human race. (10)
SUBTERRANEAN BLUES/HONECKER’S BUNKER
Its code name suggests something a little more precious than the brutal reality. Pearl was the bunker built for the political leaders of the GDR in the event of a nuclear strike, an invitation-only shelter that exposes the cynicism of the cold war years and a part of history that is now being put in permanent cold storage. Awash with the socialist palette of beige and green, decontamination now looks to be shabbily naive. (11)
THE SHOOTIST/JUSTIN BENNETT
The acoustic urban reality of an urban space is not an exclusive personal playlist to shuffle. In Shotgun Architecture the work of Justin Bennett combines the qualities of sound, video and performance to reveal the structures of sonic exploration. Almost-music merges with sonar maps to create strange complex pavilions fascinated by the tension between sight and sound. (12)
FROM THE BIN/THORSTEN BRINKMANN
In the mercantile port of Hamburg, Thorsten Brinkmann tangles with a modern-day caveman’s dreams. Unable to resist the allure of dumped urban detritus, this German artist recomposes and intervenes in the trash to scrap cycle to come up with installations, videos or photos such as portraits and still lifes. Why wouldn’t you wrap your head in sheet metal? (13)
FOOD IN THE HOOD/DEBRA SOLOMON
Socio-political ingredients are increasingly sustaining a network of crossover creatives as they serve up edible projects that use the tools of art, design and architecture to make a local and global dish. The Dutch have a particular handle on the trend and Debra Solomon’s doughy & bubbling experiments take utopia for a walk down reality street. (14)
PETTING IN THE HOUSE/ATELIER BOW-WOW
Small Case Study Houses by Atelier Bow-Wow is a far from literal response to an iconic post-war American residential architecture programme. Borne out of a residency by the architects in Los Angeles and taking in that city’s urban dynamics, the resulting installation looks back to the tree and forward to the landfill. (15)
LIVING ROOMS/OFFICE K.GEERS & D.VAN SEVEREN
From a proposed new administrative capital for South Korea to a luxury villa sunken into the unforgiving landscape of Inner Mongolian, the Office Kersten Geers & David Van Severen asks whether you can make ‘architecture with architecture’ in a tone devoid of irony or rhetoric. Seven Rooms is their new exhibition and it has a family feel that doesn’t leave any of the projects estranged in the attic.
SKILL AND WILL/LI WEI
The hows of Chinese performance artist Li Wei do not deter from the final image, instead they provide an alternative narrative of the physical processes involved. Half submerged, floating, hanging, levitating, many of his series appear a mix of gymnastic skill and sheer will that create a tableau of eerie calm but essential wrongness. (16)
RETHINKING CITIES/WORLD DESIGN CAPITALS
When talk turns to legacies, the Olympic analogy of the World Design Capitals is explicit. The designer dust has settled in Turin, the inaugural destination for the project’s first outing, so what were the highs and lows and against the backdrop of a world economy in motion, what can the next Capital, Seoul, do to maintain the momentum of a year-long celebration?.
PRODUCTIVITY
From designer’s long departed from this mortal coil to those still handing their assignments into their professors, this bonanza-sized section features products, people and places from the Stockholm Furniture Fair to the streets of Brazil, with tantalising glimpses of the designs that will preview at Milan’s Salone del Mobile.
AGENDA
Exhibitions, events, fairs, competitions and stuff that puts two fingers up to definition. From London, New York, Paris, Berlin and Madrid via Porto, Beijing and Toronto, a selective listing of what and when to see some of the most interesting shows in the worlds of design (p176), fashion (p180), architecture (p182) and art.
NEWS
Showing and selling news from leading designers and international brands: Ingo Maurer’s new exhibition space in Munich; OFFECCT’s concept store in Stockholm; previews of Edward van Vilet’s Sushi collection for Moroso; Kvadrat’s new UK flagship store and headquarters; and Diesel’s Home Collection license agreement with Foscarini and Moroso.


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