Brecht Wright Gander, Yo! Burri Light Series No.1, USA, 2018
NYC-based artist Brecht Gander experiments with unique materials and textures to create bespoke works of functional sculpture. His commanding Yo! Burri Light Series, is an homage to Alberto Burri, an Italian painter and sculptor considered a key figure in Post-War abstract art. Like Burri, Gander employs unorthodox materials, in this case pigmented & reinforced paper mache, epoxy clay, steel, plaster wrap, and LEDs.
The crude, texture of the sculptural lights does not attempt to hide evidence of its construction, rather, it embraces the artist’s hand at work. The lamps’ heads are positioned precariously from a spindly tripod, thrust forward giving the impression of an otherworldly seeing eye, blurring the line between anthropomorphism, abstract sculpture, and functional design. The over-scaled lamps are illuminated by hidden LED’s which are both reflected and absorbed in the domed gold interior creating an illusion that its interior glows from an almost mystical source.
Gander treats functionality as a ground for aesthetic play. His wide-ranging curiosity fuels his research-driven practice. He engages a multitude of unconventional materials, describing his unique works as “a culmination of many collisions.” Gander seeks out materials that allow him to go from impulse to final result with few intermediate steps. Using resins, paper pulps, single-use molds, spray foam, and cast-able concrete allows the artist’s hand to resonate throughout the work, addressing the “longing for haptic connection” Gander feels is a by-product of digital culture.
A recent move to a large warehouse-sized studio space in rural New Jersey has opened up Gander’s opportunity to experiment with new materials, including lightweight glass fiber, reinforced concrete, and color-shifting pigments, while allowing his works to take on a monumental scale.
Maintaining a delicate balance between whimsy and function helps stabilize Gander’s design practice.
“I want a certain level of seriousness with my play, to know that it’s connected to an inquiry that has a weighted intention behind it,” he says. “When it’s playful but also having to hit these measures of functionality, that’s the kind of place that I find the most compelling.”
Medium: Pigmented and Reinforced Paper Mache, Epoxy Clay, Steel, Plaster Wrap
Dimensions: 84” H x 48” W, 213.36 H x 121.92 W cm
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