DESIGN MIAMI/PODIUM X SHANGHAI
For the first edition of Design Miami / Podium x Shanghai at No. 1 Wai Tan Yuan, Shanghai, China, from the 5th - 14th November, In response the theme proposed by Design Miami/ Curatorial Director, Aric Chen and Deputy Curator (Shanghai), Violet Ruhui Wang: Wu Gan: The Art of Design 物感：设计的艺术, Side Gallery presented works by three contemporary designers, Zhou Yilun, Chan Chaio Chun and Sabine Marcelis.
As continuation of Zhou Yilun’s (b. 1983, Hangzhou, China) “Animal chairs” and “Practice chairs”, Side Gallery presented two original works from the series, on the occasion of the design fair. As with most of Zhou Yilun’s (b. 1983, Hangzhou, China) work, are not intended for utility, instead they are a search for abstraction and an antidote to boredom. The artist sources a variety of discarded plastics from various factories. The work emphasises that the era we live in now is an era of the omnipresent plastics. PVC, polyethylene, various polymers and petroleum extracts can be found everywhere. Although these materials are not environmentally friendly, they are symbolic of the times we live in. While the process of recycling them would entail greater energy consumption, through Zhou Yilun’s work the materials are allowed to experience a rebirth as a whimsical statement. The process of producing the furniture involves modeling small mockups with plasticine. These are then 3D scanned and sent to a factory to carve the desired geometry from the high density foam. The artist then uses a layer of resin coating on the outside to bring a composition of colour to each piece.
The series of seating elements, aims to present a commentary on society’s obsession with tangible objects and consumerism. Zhou Yilun believes so-called artworks no longer exist and instead everything the individual creates, whether a painting or a piece of furniture, is a product intended to produce a profit. He says “ I am not rebellious anymore. The real rebellion in this era, is to give up making money. I have a monthly mortgage, I am not rebellious at all. I am in fact, very obedient.”
Over the last decade Sabine Marcelis (b.1985 New Zealand) has become known for her work with resin. Her receptiveness for the material is due to its manipulability; the translucency of the material can be adjusted from sheer transparency to a milky or solid opaque finish. Working in collaboration with industry specialists, Marcelis intervenes in the manufacturing processes using material research and experimentation to achieve new and surprising visual effects. Marcelis also experiments with artificial lighting in her work. The introduction of neon light to her material combinations expresses the relationship between light, color and transparency in a more constant context. Marcelis development of complex colour recipes and finishes, resulted in her Totem Series commissioned and sold exclusively by Side Gallery. Presented at the fair were two floor lights from the series. The collection is composed of four different sized lighting elements, two table and two standing lamps. The Totems are built with several stacked translucent resin volumes which are slightly rotated on a central axis. The carved-out void where the neon light is inserted allows for a multifaceted play between the twisted planes of polished resin and light reflections. Every angle of the lights is a unique visual experience.
Chan Chiao Chun (1984, Taipei) is a visual artist and designer. His intuitive practice is based on the struggles between himself and his surrounding objects. Born in Taiwan, the artist moved to Europe to study and graduate with an MA from the Design Academy of Eindhoven. Over the years, he has developed a practice that allows him to explore interactions between human activity and its environments. The transformation from form to function in the contemporary design context and the unlimited self-interpretations of his visual diary play an active role in his design process. As a reflection of his personal vocabulary, his work relats to his history and background as well as the many possibilities and questions proposed by contemporary art and design. Working with a variety of mediums, he visualizes the human deficiency in drawings, paintings and sculptures, both deeply and lightly. This illustration is both a confrontation and combination of his personal experiences and the contemporary Western culture. The method is a structured observation of an often humorous appearance, which connects the story of being human with contemporary motifs and materials. Chiao sees himself as a detective of time, in which his experiences have enabled him a relatively objective perspective to hold a mirror and reflect the awkward attempts to come to terms with the world and it’s ever changing possibilities.