Art News: Jens Praet ‘Fossilized’ Exhibit at Industry Gallery

11 Jan

Fossilized, the first solo US exhibition of work by Jens Praet is opening at Industry Gallery January 15, 2011, 6-8 PM, and running until February 26, 2011.

The Belgium-born, Florence-based Praet has shredded and recycled copies of Art in America, Capitol File, Details, Fast Company and Robb Report mixed with clear resin to create five different designs – console, bench, side table, large table and large shelf – each in an edition of 12 with each design made from a specific title. Corresponding works for all the designs, except the large table, were also executed using shredded documents mixed with semi-transparent white resin to create the balance of the exhibition’s nine works.

Shredded Collection © Jens Praet

Fossilized is part of the designer’s Shredded Collection, which originated out of his concern about sustainability and the amount of waste paper being generated globally.

Jens Praet is among the new generation of designers creatively addressing sustainability. His design vocabulary is streamlined, though rooted in classicism, and his work in Fossilized and the Shredded Collection toys with the availability and accessibility of information.

For example, a table made of shredded magazines – a form of communication – renders the magazines unusable as a source of information, but otherwise utile, perhaps as a magazine table. Similarly, a console made from classified documents – information not meant for general consumption – can be safely used in public because the data on the documents has been shredded and rendered unreadable.

Praet also plays with the notion of boutique versus industrial design by re-purposing materials created for mass consumption into limited edition works.

The amount of magazines (named edition) or documents (White edition) used to create each work:

·       Shredded Collection Console (Art in America & White editions), 11.1 pounds/5kg

·       Shredded Collection Bench (Capitol File & White editions), 6.65 pounds/3kg

·       Shredded Collection Side Table (Details & White editions), 13.25 pounds/6kg

·       Shredded Collection Large Table (Fast Company edition), 26.5 pounds/12kg

·       Shredded Collection Large Shelf (Robb Report & White editions), 8.85 pounds/4kg

“What started as a research project,” says Praet, “turned out to be continuously growing furniture collection that ended up transforming seemingly useless documents and leftover magazines into useful objects. Paper waste returns to our living or working area as usable furniture.”

According to the designer: “The shredded paper is mixed by hand with resin and put into a mould to harden.  Once hardened to a firmness similar to wood, the work is finished by hand. Though we use a mould in shaping the piece, each work is in fact hand made and unique, because the exact mixture of paper and/or magazines differs from one piece to the next, affecting the color and appearance.”

About the Artist:

Jens Praet established studio Jens Praet, a design studio based in Panzano in Chianti (a small town near Florence, Italy), in 2007.  Praet studied Industrial Design in Florence and attended Master classes at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, under Droog Design’s co-founder Gijs Baker.

Studio Jens Praet works from a conceptual angle on topics of contemporary culture, out of own initiative and on assignment. The studio has an intensive approach towards traditional handcrafting in combination with avant-garde techniques. Jens has a strong passion for everyday objects, honest materials, finding inspiration in unexpected details and daily issues which often become the starting point in developing a new concept.

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