'Table Where: Form Function in a Bubble'
Garage Mahal Home, Western Australia, 2009
All photography by Daniel Bruyn, WA.
Andrew Hayim de Vries` unique table sculptures at Garage Mahal Home – are in a style that might be called 'funky chic' – a style those familiar with his work will recognise immediately. Made from re-cycled glass ware Andrews's sculptures double as candelabras and lamps – although some are non functional they all share his infamous design sense – one – off, handmade and a little weird.
Andrew's funny and whimsical sculptures often include small dolls, toys and bizarre objects 'pickled' in his mix-and-match found bottles, jars, bowls and other glass vessels. These sculptures are both delightful and curious – they have a sense of play that makes them alluring and intriguing. Some are exceptionally elegant and being functional, operate in the space between art and design. A space where the eccentric and fantastic delight through wonder and surprise.
This type of eccentricity is nothing new to art. In the twentieth century, starting with the dadiasts, there is a history of objects that have been designed specifically to evoke the absurd. The â€œsurrealist objectâ€ for instance was intended to be objectionable and usually humorous – an object meant to be a joke. For the Surrealists Freud's theory of jokes as a way of bringing complex issues of the unconscious into the real world, where they act as a kind of discharge of repressed energies, allowed them the license to use juxtaposition to evoke absurd combinations that made fun of rationalism. Catharsis through the pleasure of humor according to Freud, allows for the exercising of repressed sexual drives that otherwise are held in check by social conventions and rules. While the surrealists exploited absurdity they at least had a specific agenda and constructed their objects with particular aim. The more random use of what is known as 'bricolage' – the building of an object or image by using whatever is at hand, by later 'postmodernists', usually signalled a more cynical resignation to the failure of any truth or a grand explanation such as Freud's. for many postmodern artists the coolness and disinterestedness of pastiche and ironical happenstance replaced the cathartic power of humour.
Andrew's objects are far more online with the mischievousness of the Dadaists and surrealists and even verge into the sheer delight of beauty. Much art of the last twenty years has been, for the want of a better term, recuperative. After the cynicism of postmodernism new ways of allowing beauty back into art has been a way of shrugging - off the dead end of the horror of postmodernist relativism in which nothing matters. Beauty and aesthetic experience is being reinvented with the world. Some of Andrew's objects are beautiful – and thatâ€™s enough in itself for them to have meaning and substance.
If there is such a thing as 'funky chic' then its a style that doesn't take itself too seriously but revels in the play of delight and serendipitous moments of pleasure and fun.
Julian Goddard - June 2009