Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) presents the first solo museum exhibition of Sebastian Errazuriz, one of the most enigmatic creative minds working today. Errazuriz’s work straddles and blurs the boundaries between art and design, tantalizing viewers with work that is simultaneously lyrical, macabre, and eloquent. This survey, Look Again, presents the first-ever opportunity to see the scope of his practice from the last 10 years. Through found and repurposed objects, unexpected interventions, and meticulously crafted interactive furniture, Errazuriz surprises, provokes, and engages at every turn, asking viewers to rethink the everyday, to confront the transience of life, and to question the status quo.
Presented across three distinct spaces, Look Again offers a comprehensive examination of Errazuriz’s practice. In CMOA’s Forum Gallery, furniture, products, sketches, and prototypes underscore his meticulous craftsmanship and wit. Masterworks of contemporary design, Errazuriz’s functional cabinetry confounds and delights. One example, Magistral, guards its contents with tens of thousands of bamboo spikes; another unfolds with porcupine-like quills. A new kinetic cabinet, Explosion expands to the brink of stability while retaining beautiful geometric proportions, using mechanics so complex that they took more than a year to perfect. The designer’s insightful and provocative social practice emerges through his Occupy Chairs, which literally carry the protest messages of the 99% into the homes of the art collectors in the 1%.
In the museum’s magnificent Hall of Architecture, a 107-year-old collection of monumental plaster casts, a selection of conceptually-driven works stand under the artist’s own cartoonish yet sobering reminder of mortality, a piano, suspended above visitors, from the hall’s 70-foot ceiling. These absurdly beautiful memento mori invite serious contemplation as well as laughter. A floating coffin with an outboard motor suggests the ultimate act of personal agency: ending life on one’s own terms, with style and flair. A dramatic custom racing motorcycle fitted with a delicate taxidermy bird conjures the thin margin between life and death. A coffee table contains layers of flat artworks; peeling away to reveal a life-sized photograph of the artist, positioned as though on a stretcher or autopsy table.
A video documentary selection of Errazuriz’s public art projects in Chile and the United States, shown in the museum’s foyer, will demonstrate some of the artist’s most visible attempts to tackle life’s weighty issues: mortality, war and violence, and social and economic inequality. Thrust onto unsuspecting viewers in everyday life, these murals and staged events insistently start conversations in the public sphere.
Sebastian Errazuriz: Look Again reveals the artist and designer’s wide-ranging talent, and his ability to be shocking and irreverent, yet profoundly sensitive. The exhibition is organized by Rachel Delphia, The Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at CMOA.
All photos are courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art