(adam štěch) For the Design Festival in London, the Carpenters Workshop Gallery has prepared an exhibition entitled “Conversations in Bronze.” In the gallery’s purely white interiors, situated close to Picadilly, we could see Ingrid Donat and Vincent Dubourg’s bronze furniture amongst good company.
The Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London focuses on showcasing limited and unique furniture, emphasizing the handcraft aspect of the work of art. The furniture by Ingrid Donat and Vincent Dubourg meets both these gallery’s requirements by all means. In these works, both by French artists, we can spot the aesthetics of continuing the tradition of decorative artworks by Elizabeth Garouste or Mattia Bonetti. The older Ingrid Donat is exhibiting a number of commodes and tables made from dark bronze and scarified by something that reminds us of decorative tattooing. She is inspired by body decoration, ritual tattooing, among other things. Her furniture is covered in decorated leather that evokes exotic images of native tribes from North and South America.
On the other hand, Vincent Dubourg finds his inspiration in nature, mostly through vegetal shapes. Some of his artworks show us that furniture can easily be taken for a free-standing sculpture. In his designs, we suddenly find a hidden drawer in the midst of a bunch of bronze branches and sprouts; it feels like finding something inappropriate in a thick thornbush. It might be something precious that a magpie might have hidden there. In another example, the decaying classicist console of Napoleon á Trotinette is slowly becoming overgrown by new bronze vegetation.
At the exhibition “Conversations in Bronze,” wild nature that is slowly swallowing human habitats is interconnected with the magic rituals of native Africa. However, only a real design devotee would discover another unique connection. The superb chair of Beaubourgh, designed in 1976 by Michel Cadestin and Georges Laurent for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, which was opened at that time, was exhibited as a “mere” curator’s chair. Currently, the chair is highly sought after by art collectors. Right next to a cabinet by Vincent Dubourg that looked as if it had been deconstructed, one could find another interesting connection that adverts to the decorative tradition of French design and gives us a chance to think retrospectively about the thirty-year-long development in this field of art. It also allows us to think about a conversation that does not have to be only in bronze.
Commode, design: Vincent Dubourg