To Austrian craftsman and designer Robert Stadler , a couch is never just a couch. “Is it liquid or is it solid? It’s in the middle,” says gallerist Julien Lombrail of one of Stadler’s earlier works, an ultra low-rise leather sectional that looks like a sofa crossed with an oil spill.
But despite their unconventional forms, says Lombrail, every piece of Stadler’s is fully functional. “There are very few people who can combine the ability to create art with the ability to create design.”
If any artist is best known for combining the concepts of art and design, it may be sculptor Isamu Noguchi, whose unmistakable paper light sculptures have embodied home décor as art installation since the 1950s. It then follows that the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City should be the site of Robert Stadler’s new exhibition, Solid Doubts, on now until September 3.
In the exhibit, Stadler’s otherworldly pieces appear alongside complements from the Noguchi collection such as lamps and benches, representing two generations of design that are clearly linked but also clearly distinct. “Noguchi didn’t want to make a [distinction] between art and design, and Stadler is doing the opposite.” says Lombrail, who curated a tandem exhibit opening tonight at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery. “He started with design. He’s a pure designer. And he brought design into the art world.”
In addition to these two exhibits, Stadler will also appear in a third show, at the fair Collective Design. And who said surrealist design wasn’t accessible?
Main image: Jacques Gavard