Snapshot: New York based designers Lauren Larson and Christian Swafford, the creative minds behind Material Lust have realized yet another functional sculpture. A refined and geometric follow up to last year's ritualistic Pagan Chair, the 'Vanishing Twin Chair’ is symbolic in its own right.
The mastermind’s behind Material Lust, Lauren Larson and Christian Swafford, willingly confess that they are artists masquerading as designers. As Larson states, their work “treads on the line between art and design.” In their new piece on display at VoltaNY, the 'Vanishing Twin Chair’, is a rebirth of their previous released ‘Pagan Chair’. The piece, which creates a kind of ritual seating arrangement, is an interactive component of a larger show offering, as Larson explains, “a moment of pause to question functional art”.
The 'Vanishing Twin Chair’ is the newest addition in a series the duo calls, ‘Geometry is God’. Inspired and fascinated by Pagan and Alchemical symbolism, the 'Vanishing Twin Chair’ is reminiscent of Paganism’s most recognizable symbol, the pentagram. Just as the piece’s predecessor the ‘Pagan Chair’ revealed, the use of Pagan symbolism is typically synonymous with a viscerally deep response. The sharp edges of the satin black wood chair seem at once perilous and inviting.
These ominous and emotional reactions are in keeping with the identity and aesthetic of Material Lust. In a movement that Larson and Swafford have coined ‘Opressionism’, heavy-handed theatrics combined with high design are the keys to exploring uncomfortable imagery. It is this kind of symbolically dense work that keeps Material Lust on the line of what is art and what is design, while potentially redefining both.
In describing this latest piece, Larson points out that although the ‘Pagan Chair’ was born first, there were always meant to be two twin chairs. Originally, steel was the chosen material coated in a matte black finish with a smoke Lucite seat. Now, made with satin black wood, Larson notes that the 'Vanishing Twin Chair’ is “almost a rebirth in a more soft extrusion of the original metal”.
For two artists defined by their exceptional partnership in design, this recent exhibition is not only a rebirth of previous work, but also a reawakening of their artistic heritage. With a right of entry into not only the design world but the art world as well, the possibilities for these two are truly boundless.
Photography courtesy of Material Lust