The work of Dutch designer Sebastian Brajkovic transcends forms and historical periods, making for an original and visually striking approach that is immersed in a sense of time and space being twisted out of shape. In ‘Vanishing Point’, his first solo show at the Paris branch of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Sebastian Brajkovic has focused on temporal linearity. His latest creations convey the concepts of growth and vanishing points.
‘Vanishing Point’ marks a significant stage in the designer’s artistic development, whose talents were first noted in 2007, immediately after his graduation from Eindhoven Design Academy, by Julien Lombrail and Loïc Le Gaillard. His graduation project ‘Lathe’, originally made from wood, stands at the crossroads between art and design. Carpenters Workshop Gallery gave him the chance to create this design in bronze. His use of the technique of casting, traditionally employed in sculpture, is further confirmation of the artist’s desire to play around with the boundaries between art and design: ‘At the end of the day, I like the balance that exists between industrial design and art. Both fields are creative. I work towards both form and function.’
Sebastian Brajkovic tries to take the objects that he draws in his sketchbook and invest them with meaning. He explores materials and dimensions in an attempt to describe, understand and pin them down. In his ‘Lathe’ series, he takes an 18th century chair in the neo-classical style as his starting point. He breaks it down into its creative components before reconstituting it, creating a whole new family of chairs, reshaping our perspectives. He reinvents, as happened in the 19th century, the face-to-face position of the seating, the confidante, the bench and the fainting couch. Left behind is the indelible mark of the moulding, the shape and the grain of the wood which rise ever so gently to the surface of the patinated bronze. The nod to this particular period in the history of furniture-making represents a tribute to the skills of craftspeople everywhere.
Sebastian Brajkovic puts a new spin on the classic figurative floral tapestry motif, all the better to defy the strictures of visual perception. As on a page of writing, with deconstructed thoughts, he uses digital technology to recount his fascination for the world in which we live. A world that is characterized by connectivity, speed and sharing. In this way he pays homage to the ideas and drawings of the Futurists, who communicated their enthusiasm for progress as epitomized by the world of machines, a world of speed: ‘I believe in a transcendental vision. I try to reproduce life, to create the illusion of movement and change, when all along this is impossible. I like to express change, development, hope. My vision seeks to tackle the issue of permanency.’
‘Vanishing Point’ is comprised of several pieces, including ‘Fibonacci’ which expresses a theory of growth drawn up by an Italian mathematician towards the end of the 12th century. The chair’s organic design is further emphasized by the amazing embroidery work performed by the craftspeople of the Maison Lesage embroidery workshop. A bench, composed of five chairs, spreads out like a crowd of people or a herd of animals on the move, an eight-footed creature with an embroidered hide. This animal-like creation sports scales with a geometric pattern rather like that seen in the marquetry of the cabinetmaker Oeben (18th century). This pattern gradually disappears, morphing into something else. A confidante for lovers, a smiling chair, full of a dynamic sensuality inspired by Carlo Mollino’s designs, rounds off the collection.
‘Vanishing Point’ takes the skill of the craftsperson, the new art of digital craftsmanship and bronze sculpture and turns them into embodied realities. The exhibition invites us to adopt a perspective focusing on the tangible, the alive, the dynamic. An ideal that represents life. Sebastian Brajkovic’s creative process is a ‘work in progress’, an endless game, the journey from functional item to work of art: ‘My objects are sculptures, but at the same time they are perfectly functional in their design. In painting, I’m drawn to the ‘blurred effect’ and distortion, twisting, rather like Francis Bacon, who creates and then dismantles his subjects. At the moment, I want to create finished objects and show them in all their complexity. It’s an attempt to express perfection.’