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Two new furniture series by Martin Szekely on view at Blondeau & Cie
Artefact, 2013. View of the Exhibition Martin Szekely, Artefact/Map, 2014 - Blondeau & Cie, Geneva. Photo: Didier Jordan.

GENEVA.- From 22 May to 25 July, Blondeau & Cie hosts Martin Szekely for an exhibition of two new furniture series, "Artefact" and "MAP."

This is his first solo exhibition since his retrospective Martin Szekely – Ne plus dessiner, held at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2011.

A major international figure known both for his industrial projects and his unique objects and limited editions collected the world over, Martin Szekely occupies a singular position in the world of design. A turning point in his creative logic came in 1996 with the "Ne plus dessiner" (stop drawing) principle, when he replaced drawing with writing. His objects have since been underpinned and accompanied by texts, throughout the process of their gestation and production.

"To stop drawing is to take up an objective distance with regard to the project. It is to stop entrusting the process to the individual imagination and its corollary, drawing, which is what I had done in the 1980s and '90s. It is to establish a working method based on data that are outside me and that everyone can share, the data that I call 'hardstones' (pierres dures): the title of the project, its cultural dimension, the way it is made, which of course includes the choice of materials, and its contextual finality—the place and above all the people the project is for. However, it is up to me to produce the synthesis of these objective data. It should be noted that with an identical series of data, another person will produce a different result. The first personal advantage is that I am no longer dependent on my own self—like scientists who analyse all the data concerning a subject the better to understand it and, sometimes, put their finger on something that is essential for us all."

The object's relation to the body and its surroundings is central to Szekely's work. Here he draws on the history of uses, structures and technologies in order to enable their future evolution. In his objects, which meet a functional need, he seeks to match the concept with the materials and production process. What results from this unity is an autonomous aesthetic dimension.

"Artefact" marks the first time Martin Szekely has referred directly and physically to nature in his work. The series comprises a coffee table (edition of 10 + 2 AP) and a pair of side tables (edition of 10 + 2 AP), with tops in quartzite based on a pebble chosen on a beach in Normandy, resting on slender gold-plated legs. The original pebble was digitised, adapted to the scale of the furniture, and then carved in identical form from a hollowed block of stone. In this piece Szekely gives immediate material form to the direct link between historical reflection, inspiration and the function of the object, thereby opening a new chapter in his work which questions our contemporary relation to nature: model or artefact?

"MAP" is based on two modules in anodised aluminium—a square (43 x 43 centimetres) and a rectangle (43 x 86 centimetres). Using these it creates configurations for eight categories of use (each category in a limited edition of 7 + 2 AP): table, coffee table, work table, reception table, outsize table, console, corner console, pair of consoles. It emphasises the specificity of the module as an element that both limits and yet, in combination, offers endless possibilities. The technological ambition of this piece and its radicalism echo earlier emblematic projects by Martin Szekely, notably the Etagère T5 (2004), based on the repetition of a single module in aluminium and Nextel.

Born in 1956, Martin Szekely lives and works in Paris.

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