Piece & Quiet: a series of cut-out chairs by Nathaniel Wojtalik | News STIRpad

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In our busy daily lives, the realization of the fleeting nature of life often eludes us. It is the occurrence of catastrophic events such as war, pandemics, and climatic calamities that often succeed in shaking us from our daydreaming, sparking thought and inspiration, and giving rise to new ideas and political theories. , as well as cultural and artistic movements. Similarly, World War I ushered in various avant-garde values ​​and cultures, some of which include Surrealism and Dadaism. Although guided by different thought processes, the works that fall under these two movements unanimously appear bizarre, confusing, sometimes chimerical and magical and at other times abstract and elusive. At a time in history where wars, unrest, pandemics and the climate crisis are relentless, it is almost imperative to revisit the movements that allow for the absurd projection of ideas through art, in objects and in music. Culture objectsa Brooklyn-based art and design studio founded by an American artist, art director and set designer Nathaniel Wojtalik in 2020, recently unveiled Piece and calma series of 18 chairs built according to the cutting method attributed to Dadaism.




Chair with asymmetrical design Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik



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Rear view of one of the Piece & Quiet chairs Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik

Wojtalik, who resides in New York, was inspired by the cut-up technique, or method of cutting, first used by the Dadaists in the 1920s, to create this series of designer furniture where each piece is assembled asymmetrically. “A lot of my work draws forms from the natural world, but in such a way that they clash with geometric forms. Some elements of each piece are left to chance or the inherent properties of each material are embraced rather than rejected, perhaps the wood grain sweep line informs the contours of the whole chair, for example,” explains the American designer, asked about the inspiration behind his series of wooden furniture. By embracing the beauty of raw wood pieces, Wojtalik draws a parallel with this “anti-art” exploration undertaken during the interwar period.



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The chair is designed with narrow front legs and a strong back leg Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik



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Randomly assembled wooden pieces make up the chair Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik

The cutting method, initially defined as a random literary technique where printed or written text is cut and rearranged to constitute a poem, a story or simply a thought, was later also adopted by artists and designers to constitute in an abstract way random compositions. One of the most notable examples of this method is Tristan Tzara’s text “To Make A Dadaïst Poem” and the abstract compositions of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. “To Make A Dadaist Poem” uses the technique to simply explain how one can engage in this literary practice. An Italian poet, art theorist and founder of the Futurist movement, Marinetti’s compositions, on the other hand, use this method to create fragmented and dynamic abstractions that evoke the distorted and often disrupted urban life of the post-war period. Cutting, which is one of many Dadaist modes of expression, embodied the liberating character common to all experiments undertaken by Dadaists.



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A long piece of wood protrudes from the seat of the chair Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik



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Different parts of the chair are processed at different levels Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik

Découpe, rediscovered by visual artist and writer Brion Gysin in the 1950s while working on one of his paintings, takes on a different, more layered format. Gysin realized that the juxtaposition of random words and images, when arranged without foresight, gave rise to new and original ideas. Another example of cutting by Gysin is a sound piece recorded by him. Titled ‘Recalling All Active Agents’, it is a two-track recording, engineered at varying speeds so that an incoherent cacophony of words can be heard. When one listens to the track carefully, new phrases and phrases accumulate to give new meaning to the recording for each listener.



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A curved piece of wood cradles the chair like a cocoon Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik



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Different surfaces of the chairs have different textures Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik

Wojtalik’s latest product design series, Piece & Quiet, also follows a similar path to that taken by Gysin with his newspaper and art compositions. The American artist picked up offcuts, partially assembled prototypes and threw away wooden limbs lying around his studio to build the collection of designer chairs. Among these pieces, some were raw and in their natural state while others were more elaborate. “Instead of forcing the material into a shape that matches our rigid structural requirements, sometimes it’s more compelling to allow it to be the way it wants. Design by intuition; limited, but simultaneously expanded within the limits of what is recovered,” says Wojtalik. This is exactly what the artist has accomplished with this collection. Picking up the raw materials, he stacked and composed the individual elements together, letting his intuition guide the process.



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Chair that can also be used as a stool or side table Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik



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Organic shapes juxtaposed with linear form an interesting composition Image: Courtesy of Nathaniel Wojtalik

The studio’s work is largely guided by the idea of ​​connection: between people, with objects, with ideas, etc. Each object is created with the intention of fostering an association, a bond. The acceptance of the original nature of each element is the catalyst for the whole process. In Wojtalik’s words, the forms of his objects “often drift towards a subtle humor and nonchalantly move away from the inherent functionalism of furniture, without leaving it altogether”. He invites people to come and experience these pieces: to sit, lean and observe the objects and then accept or reject them. It can be clearly observed that none of the chairs are designed symmetrically. Voids balance solids and narrow straight lines sit on top of their bulky counterparts, forcing people to adjust to the seat, lean differently, and experience each piece in a new and unique way. Wojtalik, who is constantly innovating and inventing, plans to work on new collections of furniture and designer lighting in the future, thus fossilizing his relevance as a furniture designer.

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