PART OF THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM PERMANENT COLLECTION, LONDON, UK.
Renowned for his Lathe Chair series, Sebastian Brajkovic’s artistic process begins with a deconstruction of antique furniture, in particular 17th and 19th century chairs. Through a combination of wood carving, bronze casting and machine embroidering, he then reconstructs an entirely new vision. There is undoubtedly a Cubist, even Mannerist element to Brajkovic’s chairs as they belie an interest in presenting all angles of an object simultaneously. Brajkovic plays with the sitters’ comfort with the familiar and the new by taking traditional forms and techniques and subverting them with a contemporary approach.
His work is at once highly contemporary and yet ingrained in history with its exquisite craftsmanship and traditional techniques. They could not exist without historical precedents, or our appreciation of them. Cast in bronze or aluminium like sculptural art works, but remaining functional as furniture, the chairs are both a tribute to the past and a prelude to the future. As Gareth Williams observed, ‘These hybrids exist entirely in their own present, but are built on our recognition of the past within them.’
The Dutch-Croatian-Indonesian designer was born in 1975. Sebastian Brajkovic holds a keen interest in the divide between art and design, and exploring the border between the two has long fueled his practice. He graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2006 and burst onto the art-world scene with his project Lathe. He investigates the notion of perspective and distortion of form through his sculptural furniture pieces.
The Lathe series, expanded for his first solo show at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in 2008, reflects his longstanding fascination with rotation. The Lathe tables at once illustrate and innovate the idea of turned furniture. The spinning motion of a lathe both creates the table and decorates it. The rotation is visible in the table’s exaggerated profile and in the layers of concentric whorls on its surface. Through his in-depth exploration of the theoretical and the technical, Brajkovic creates an aesthetic balance of structure, freedom, and form. The Lathe chairs also employ woodcarving, bronze casting, and embroidery. Each work is sculpted by hand before being molded. At the same time, Brajkovic employs new digital techniques for sculpture, harnessing the power to expand pixels and distort images.
There is a disparity between the delicate look and substantial feel of his works. Often composed of bronze, they are too heavy to be lifted without mechanical assistance. As such, their archetypal function is subverted by their substance.