Can living, art, and design be separated at all? The artists of the Bauhaus movement, in particular, celebrated the play with the hybrid, with cross-media border crossings between design and art, form and function. "There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman," Walter Gropius had declared in the founding manifesto of the Bauhaus in 1919, striving for a unification of all the arts. Influenced by Modernism, the British Arts and Crafts movement, and Constructivism, the German Bauhaus artist Anni Albers, for example, created her multifaceted work primarily in the technique of weaving.
To this day, contemporary artists continue to break out of their usual practice and experimentally explore the design of everyday objects. A virtuoso of cross-over is the Cuban artist Jorge Pardo, who lives in Los Angeles and has been moving between art and design in his artistic work since the early 1990s. For him, the two categories are not mutually exclusive, and both the lamps he designs and his large spatial installations have a utility value in addition to their artistic value.
Confronting artists "with the question of functionality" is also the point of the French publishing house "We Do Not Work Alone" which has been producing everyday objects designed by artists since 2015. Among them, for example, is a white butter dish designed not without irony by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. The ceramic is a direct link to Wurm's 2003 sculpture "Fat House," a "greased" family home that criticizes petit-bourgeois status symbols and our consumer society.
German, London-based painter Sophie von Hellermann is also one of a young generation of artists opening up to other media. She is known for her large-scale, romantic canvases, which often convey complex narrative threads and are exhibited in international galleries and museum houses such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris. One of her latest works, however, is not a painting but a textile design featuring floating, dreamlike figures in pale blue. "Swim Together" is the title of the design, which was created in collaboration with "Saison International," a new project that aims to translate contemporary art onto fabrics.
In addition to Sophie von Hellermann, two other renowned and internationally represented artists have created special and timeless textile designs for the first, exclusive, and limited collection: a monochrome floral design by British artist Paul Morrison, and a colorful, geometric pattern by German artist Lothar Götz. The resulting fabrics can be purchased by the yard on the Saison International website, which launched in early April. "There's something very open and democratic about being able to buy a few yards of fabric and do what you want with it at home," say Eleanor Wright and Sam Watson, the founders of Saison International, who are a couple, curating and living as artists in London and Antwerp. With their concept, they want to make it possible to intensify the relationship with the spaces we live in through art. The yard goods, suitable for home accessories such as upholstered furniture, are complemented by a selection of limited readymades.
The idea of making art accessible to as many people as possible and making it an integral element of the home is also represented by Kate Hawkins and Sarah McClean of Common Room. For their artist-designed wallpaper, they have collaborated with Polish-British conceptual artist Goshka Macuga, among others. The template of Goshka's wallpaper design is a scan of the threads on the back of one of her large-scale tapestries. While the front of a tapestry resembles a painting, she focuses on the craft, the threads, and knots. Goshka, whose work has been shown in international museums such as London's Tate Britain and Kunsthalle Basel, uses her design to show how a work of art is created and what holds it together.