Brecht Wright Gander, True Jelly of the Beast Bar Cabinet, USA, 2018
NYC-based artist Brecht Gander experiments with unique materials and textures to create bespoke works of functional sculpture. His monumental bar cabinet, titled True Jelly of the Beast, stands like a commanding domed obelisk. A mad cross between the Duomo Fiore and Elsworth Kelly’s “Austin”, the corrugated structure is finished with a hand-applied, black, fortified paper-pulp that is both rough and refined. Two doors open to reveal three generous brass shelves, each illuminated with hidden LEDs. The gold leaf dome is also illuminated, giving the cabinet a surprisingly opulent look that contrasts the exterior’s brutalist facade. As a bar cabinet or curio True Jelly of the Beast is unique statement of contemporary design.
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: Brass, Steel, Magnets, Gold Leaf, Plaster, Paper, LEDs
Dimensions: 104” H x 40” W, 264.16 H x 101.60 W cm
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