January 21 – February 26, 2022
Adrianus Kundert, Calen Knauf, Castor, Chris Kabel, Dach&Zephir, Earth Landing Project, Evey Kwong, Jamie Wolfond, Joyce Lin, Julian Gregory, Keillor MacLeod, Klemens Schillinger, Marco Campardo, Maria Hupfield & Kathryn Walter, Rebecca Sun Collins, Shigeki Fuishiro, Sina Sohrab, Studio Satel, Tom Chung, Theo Leclercq & Camile Viallet
Curated by Jamie Wolfond
ESP is pleased to present SLANTED/ENCHANTED part of DesignTO Toronto’s annual design festival – a collection of objects which celebrate improvised production methods.
“But oh well – I don’t know what design is. I often say, anyone who feigns to know what it is confounds a fragment from his own disciplinary knowledge with everything else.” Enzo Mari
The complexity of design – and what, in part, makes it endlessly captivating – lies in its myriad functions. Design involves utility, aesthetics, ethics, anthropology, technology, economics, ecology. Objects are often the center of attention, but an object also gestures to a particular way of thinking that led to its creation. The twenty designers exhibited here play with the permeability of design, each approaching the project from their own distinct perspective and maintaining their own idiosyncratic visual language along the way. Like any liquid, the works on display might best be understood as a flow. A flow of raw energy, configured in the moment, each outcome becoming its own manifesto on making.
Works featured in the installation build upon the traditional design canon in terms of form, content, and process. This exploratory approach begins, for some designers, as playful yet labor-intensive exercises, while other designers improvise the unconventional materials. Still others appropriate industrial processes, reinterpreting them within the realm of the handmade. The resulting exhibition offers constellations of objects that map creative interests outside of industrialization and mass-production. These juxtapositions provoke new associations and responses, revealing the complex layers of meaning, reference, and possibility in design today. A grand experiment in alternative methods, Slanted/Enchanted presents a palimpsest of ideas and aesthetics that both subvert and respect design’s kaleidoscopic legacy. – Tiffany Lambert
When you think of Canadian design, some of these elements that you see in this exhibition start to emerge. Materiality as in wood is prevalent. There is a strong sense of playfulness and fun. I mean, a stick of butter as a bench, come on lol. A crocodile as a light. Imagine that as a children’s night light? And colour, there are subtle pops of colours with yellow and blue to bring attention to certain parts of the artifacts.
Here are some of the pieces that stood out for me.
Maria Hupfield & Kathryn Walter, CHAIR CHAIR, 2022, Industrial felt, $12 000 courtesy of Patel Brown Gallery
Orgy much lol? Who would have thought that chairs could move in that way? It’s so playful bringing an almost Alice in Wonderland feel to the piece. All that is missing is the chesterfield cat and a mad hatter to complete the installation.
Marco Campardo, Butter Bench, 2021, UV resistant polyurethane resin, pigments, $4740
Butter, butter everywhere yet no bread to dip? If I had to put this somewhere in my house where would it go? The children’s room? I think the kitchen would be too much. Or maybe it goes in a bakery, so people can sit while they wait for their number to be called.
Chris Kabel, 3P3C, 2022, yellow pine, 43 x 55 x 80 cm, $1250 each
These tripod-looking chairs were probably my favorite pieces in the exhibition. Three planks of wood and three cuts. They make perfect garden chairs or patio chairs to put on a balcony. Their petite size makes them very flexible to place almost anywhere in the home.
If you are looking for something to round out the last week of February I would highly recommend spending some time at ESP.