Man&Eve welcomes British design collective Yard Sale Project as summer residents of the gallery. Yard Sale Project is a creative collaboration between Cairn Young and Ian Spencer. Together, they make work which combines computer aided-technology with traditional craft skills, and which bestrides the increasingly obsolete boundaries between art, craft and design.
This presentation of their work explores the evolution of a formal language that has developed through a series creative duels between Young and Spencer. Young’s ongoing research practice is informed by his background in product and industrial design. There is a desire to push different materials to their limit by making them conform to perfect geometric patterns and systems. In contrast, Spencer is fascinated by how scientific discoveries of the chaotic nature of the universe can influence how things are made, and in how this synchronizes with his highly skilled and disciplined practice of working with wood. These two approaches are combined to produce a body of works made from wood, plastic, leather and ready-made objects, which escape the traditional construction techniques that tend to force a limited array of design possibilities.
In the ground floor gallery is arranged a selection of ‘pebbles’, increasing in scale from a few centimeters to a couple of metres. The pebble forms morph into more functional objects such as the ‘Corsican’ chairs and ‘Absence makes the heart’ — a low sculptural work that also hints at a usable surface. Many of these works are made from hundreds of rectangular wooden fragments, assembled to form a pixilated-looking but perfectly smooth surface. Alternately, they are clad in leather, forming an equally seductive and impossibly smooth skin.
This playful interpretation of ‘furniture design’, which considers each piece as a contemporary fine art work rather than a purely functional object, places Yard Sale Project in dialogue with artists such as Pablo Reinoso and and Yvonne Fehling/Jennie Peiz, whilst in formal terms there are parallels with work by architect David Adjaye, for example his wooden ‘Monoform, Type IV’ (2007).
There is a great deal of humour apparent in the work, particularly some of the plastic and ready-made sculptural objects including ‘Alessi has fleas’ and ‘A Dodechahedron of Umbrellas’. This is heightened by the visual conundrums found within the work, the construction of which challenges what we think we know about the way in which materials behave. This is most apparent in the two spinning vases included in the basement gallery, which interact with the strobe lighting directed at them to create an Op art effect of pattern moving across their surfaces.
The formal strength of these works elevates them above 'mere craft', and design as simply an expression of purpose. They resist boundaries and invite a reconsideration of the 'honesty of materials'.
Yard Sale Project was founded in 2010 and over the past three years their work has been exhibited internationally at exhibitions and fairs including at the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Todd Merrill Gallery (New York), Gallery 12 (Seoul), Design Miami, PAD (Paris) and Masterpiece (London).