The List’s Project Spotlight column features unparalleled projects created by our forward-thinking List members. By going straight to the source—having the designers demystify the methods behind their very own designs—we hope to enlighten and inspire our creative audience to further push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of design.
Looking at one of Henzel Studio‘s rugs, it’s hard to remember you’re looking at the floor instead of a gallery wall. Already, the company based on the artistic practice of Calle Henzel has collaborated with Richard Prince, Helmut Lang, the Andy Warhol estate, Nan Goldin, and many, many others to create works that—yes—you can walk on, but land as worthy museum pieces regardless of the underfoot function.
Now the company is in the midst of a new collaboration with contemporary Los Angeles design gallery Twentieth with an exhibition that coincides with the 20th anniversary of both Henzel Studio and Twentieth. Displayed at THE NEW, which neighbors Twentieth, the collaboration will rotate in and out exclusive work that lies at the intersection of art and design (and, quite often, on the floor).
Joakim Andreasson, curator of Henzel Studio Collaborations, walked us through the exhibition.
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Project Description: Henzel Studio Collaborations exhibition at THE NEW, features a special curation of bespoke art rugs designed by contemporary artists designed in close collaboration with Calle Henzel, Henzel Studio’s founder and creative director. The program, established in 2013, now includes art rugs by more than thirty artists. The exhibition will serve as the worldwide unveiling of new art rugs designed together with Sanford Biggers and Jwan Yosef. It also will be the U.S. debut of art rugs by Bjarne Melgaard, Carsten Höller, Olaf Breuning and Lawrence Weiner. Given The New’s mission in creating exhibitions that showcase possibilities of how art and design intersect, the venue is a natural habitat for this project. This has been further emphasized by also including a captivating carpet designed in collaboration with the designers of Videre Licet, which is the design collaboration between Twentieth’s owner Stefan Lawrence and artist Daniele Albright.
Inspiration: Henzel Studio Collaborations was conceived with no regard to the past state of art and design. Contrary to common associations to rugs—an object that inherently possesses a strong sense of history and references to defined artistic and aesthetic movements—the purpose of this project is to provide a new and extraordinary channel for art to be made available through an alternate medium. Via a curated lens, a new context is shaped to reflect diverse dynamics of contemporary art and design.
Blueprint: The key factor that informed the concept behind Henzel Studio Collaborations and made it possible is the artistic practice of Calle Henzel, founder and Creative Director of Henzel Studio. Over the past twenty years, he has created an autodidact operation where his work as an artist is expressed through the medium of rugs. Early on in his artistic career, he turned to rugs via a path of textile experimentations that solidified his commitment to the media. With an uncompromised artistic integrity and creative methodology, he has created his own independent and commercially viable structure. Henzel has mastered the production of his chosen art form, utilizing techniques that have been developed and preserved by local communities in Nepal for centuries. Both author and producer of his designs, Henzel has elevated the implementation of art into the media at hand and further blurred the distinction between disciplines. I initiated with Henzel the idea of collaborating with artists in 2012, and have since curated and overseen the program.
Materials: Silk and wool hand knotted carpets.
Uniqueness: The featured artists were all invited to freely and seamlessly translate their work and artistic ethos into the media at hand, exploring shape, volume and finishing, where practicality was secondary to concept. This free and open creative brief has resulted in utmost authenticity, and allowed the artists to embrace the outcome as part of their body of work.
Takeaway: Another opportunity to question boundaries – And a great excuse to hang a carpet on the wall.
The summerlong exhibition launches June 20, 2019 as part of the LA Design Festival.
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(Photos: Courtesy Twentieth)