MANIERA 12

Christ & Gantenbein

Athens Series

The “Athens Series” proposes a family of objects: a table, a stool and a side table. Interested in the apparent banality of the objet trouvé, Christ & Gantenbein imagined “architecture out of architecture”. They started from the traditional cutting block “as found” in Athens’s fish market, treating it as a piece of architecture. “While trying to understand it, we discovered a purely tectonic object. It pointed to a system in which single elements can be assembled and eventually become a table, a stool or even a series.” Through a process of interpretation, misinterpretation, translation and transformation, Christ & Gantenbein turned this anonymous architecture into a series of objects that simultaneously suggest and exceed their frame of reference. As such, “Athens Series” is “not the expression of a personal, intimate idea, feeling, or obsession, but rather a statement that tries to challenge the question of authorship”. Moreover, it is the exploration of elementary tectonics. The tabletop and seating surface of all the objects are made of tulip tree blocks held together by cylindrical elements in a Japanese lock, giving the whole its robustness and singularity. Covered with white plaster, the objects still show evidence of their tectonics while gaining a certain autonomy. As such, “Athens series” proposes lessons in postmodernism’s adage of “both/and”: both furniture and sculptural element, both surprisingly robust and remarkably refined, both formally unpretentious and technically ingenious.