The Speed of Thought
“How long did it take to make that?” It’s a question designers get all the time — but an unanswerable one. The realization of any really worthwhile object involves multiple processes, which run in parallel with one another and often intertwine. The actual hours logged in the studio, making things by hand, do not reflect the prototyping that came before; the invention of tools, the experiments with materials, all the false starts and promising trials; and above all, the thinking that led to these investigations in the first place. The three objects shown here are all products of this complexity — and more than that, they offer explicit reflection upon it.
The most straightforward case is Guillaume Bardet’s Tabouret. While it has the rough lines of a rustic tripod stool, it has been carefully nudged away from that source and into more sophisticated territory, reminiscent of the work of midcentury artist-artisan Alexandre Noll. Once modeled, Bardet’s form was cast in bronze, then patinated and waxed. This time-honored process finds its opposite number in Gaetano Pesce’s Drip Vase, a quintessential expression of the radical maestro’s emphatically non-traditional technique. Pigmented resin, which Pesce uses because of its modern artificiality — “we must use the materials of our time,” he often says — is simply poured over a mold and allowed to cure, the gesture captured as surely as in an Abstract Expressionist painting.
Faye Toogood, in her new collection Assemblage 6: Unlearning, pays tribute to that sort of quickness through elaborately roundabout means. After making impromptu maquettes out of ready-to-hand materials, she directed a team of artisans to recreate these models in far more durable materials, in this case mimicking hand twisted wire with hand-formed steel, and cut card with cast and painted aluminum. If asked how long it took Toogood to arrive at this object — and likewise for Bardet and Pesce — each could justifiably answer: all my life.