Trend: Wood, a magnificent material

To mark the 21st edition of the PAD (Paris Art + Design), from 22 to 26 March in the Tuileries Gardens, we take a plunge into the heart of the matter… Wood or the poetry of raw essences. Variations on an age-old material with a bright future ahead, whose presence on the decorative-arts and design market is… natural. If furniture reflects the spirit of an era, then wood is well and truly a material that cannot be dissociated from the decorative arts. The emergence of a sedentary lifestyle in the Middle Ages contributed to the development of a type of furniture whose technical characteristics have evolved. Starting off with metal hinges and complex assemblies, progress was quick and gave rise to all the variations that we know today. In France, the 17th century saw the emergence of veneered furniture and cabinetwork. Ebony took the place of blackened pearwood while a new type of furniture item made its entrance: the cabinet. The Enlightenment brought an abundance of skill and ingeniousness in all furniture forms, usages and assemblies. Following the lead of the reigning sovereign’s tastes, furniture gradually took on the contributions of Boulle marquetry, porcelain plaques, imported lacquer, Martin varnish… Some furniture was even made sheet metal! Wood was no longer the focus, merely a means of expressing unparalleled refinement. One precision nonetheless: this principle only applied to Parisian decorative arts, conditioned by corporatism. In the French regions, namely in port towns, furniture could appear in solid mahogany. Meanwhile, the 19th century placed greater priority on the quality of wood: mahogany from Saint-Domingue, from Cuba… But very quickly, mechanisation hollowed a gap between artistic craftsmanship and industry. A union between the arts and industry was not a vain utopia however. Michael Thonet thus perfected a bentwood technique drawing inspiration from...

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Nils-Udo’s latest work at Galerie Claire Gastaud

Clermont-Ferrand, 14 January 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). Until 25 January 2014, the Galerie Claire Gastaud in Clermont-Ferrand is exhibiting the photographs of German artist Nils-Udo. “Nature is my life’s theme, my art comes from my experience of it,” states the artist, underlining nature as the link between his work and his life. In this exhibition the gallery is presenting his latest series of photographs, Radeau de l’Automne (Autumn Raft), created in 2012 in the Creuse valley. An important aspect of the work of this nature-lover, a precursor of the “Art in Nature” movement, is that he uses the landscape without ever damaging it. For his Radeau de l’Automne series, the artist created, from chestnut bark, a work measuring 6.8m in length and 3.9m in height. The piece floats, contrasting the light between the valley’s dark water and the pale wood. The work is complemented by ten colour photographs which play with reflection and light, between the landscape, the water, the sky and the...

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The abstract human forms of Wang Keping in London

London, 17 October 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 17 October to 29 November 2013, the Ben Brown Fine Arts gallery is presenting the UK’s first solo exhibition of Wang Keping, one of the most prominent contemporary sculptors. The London exhibition is presenting more than twenty works spanning 25 years of the artist’s career. The artist burst onto the art scene in the 1970’s as a founding member of the avant-garde group, The Stars (Xing Xing). He works almost exclusively with one single medium, wood. From this material, he creates abstract yet simple forms, accentuating human nature and sensuality. The London exhibition is bringing together the works of the artist which demonstrate this interest in the human...

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Arte Laguna Prize launches new category

Venice, 7 August 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Organisers of the Art Laguna Prize have announced a new category, created in collaboration with design company Riva. Arte Laguna is to take place in Serenissima, Venice, and is accepting entries until 9 October 2013. Those wishing to enter the Riva design competition are asked to design an object to be created from Bricolla wood, which hails from the Venice region. The winning designer is to be invited to create their work during a ten-day residency at Riva’s workshops, and will have the opportunity to present the finished piece at Milan’s 2014 Salon del Mobile. The 8th edition of the International Arte Laguna Priza aims to promote the work of contemporary artists and designers. The total prize fund available is €180,000. The prize is open to all artists, regardless of age, gender or nationality, and each is allowed to enter one or two works to more than one competition category. Winning artists are to receive a prize of €7,000. The competition has no overall theme, though is divided into five sections, including: Painting; Sculpture and Installation; Photography; Video and Performance Art; and Digital and Virtual Art. Winning entries are to be selected by an international jury of ten members, directed by Igor...

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Monumental installation by Wilder at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Wakefield, 2 August 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). On 30 July, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park inaugurated an installation by Aeneas Wilder. The monumental sculpture Untitled # 155 is composed of small wood panels forming a circular structure. Once completed, it gives a strange feeling of solidity and fragility because of the refined materials used by Wilder. The artist carefully selected his materials: small panels of wood allow him to realise an infinity of potential works. Aeneas Wilder aims to illustrate the fragility of art since, in the end, the monetary value of a work is subjective. Untitled # 155 is doomed to be destroyed and indefinitely reconstructed in different shapes. In this way, his work is never available on the art market, as it is always different and can not have a defined value attached to it. Recycling materials and transformation are major themes of Wilder’s oeuvre. A film recounting the creation process of the artwork will also be shown at Longside...

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