With the wealth of new possibilities introduced by digital technology, many designers have been seeking to reproduce the quality and energy of liquid, the waves and fluidity of the ocean and rivers in solid materials; to freeze powerful waves into three dimensional forms, translating soft textures into hard materials. It always makes me thinking of the German Expressionists, Bruno Taut and Hans Polzieg, who in devastated Europe after WWI, sought to translate the fluid of stalactite caves and ice water into the built form, very rarely successfully with the lack of technology enabling this translation (below: Hans Poelzig Festspielhaus Salzburg, 1920). Mathieu Lehanneur has been particularly successful in achieving this goal with the pieces he created for a new solo show, open today at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York. Entitled ‘Liquid Marble,’ Lehanneur, with the aid of a special digital program that comes to emulate water, mainly utilized in the film industry, to freeze movements of powerful waves in solid marble and bronze. The space of the Gallery, former home of the New York flagship of Japanese retailer Takashimaya, could not have been more perfect for showcasing the massive blocks of black marble, as the light penetrating from the vast windows makes the reflection on their surface as the sun’s glittering light on the ocean on a beautiful autumn day. Benches, tables, and stools in the raw space, bring powerful energy and movement, fragments of the ocean into New York City. I just wished the title of this exhibition was different.
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