Posted by switch-smith at 9:52 AM . Saturday, November 17, 2012
Demisch Danant presents an intriguing exhibit showcasing the work of Joseph André Motte. Featured are two living spaces, side by side, one in the 1950's and the other in the 1960's.
When visitors enter the gallery, they’re greeted with the plush, bright enthusiasm of the Postwar reconstruction boom, a snapshot from the government-mandated comfort of French living as manufacturer Charron had envisioned it. There’s a warmth that emanates from the incandescent lighting, the canary yellow paint job, and the luxe shag carpeting. The most modern achievements involved novel uses of wood: the 1949 Tripod chairs and the 1954 rattan Sabre chair comprise woven rattan, an old artisanal form that was a liberating discovery for mid-century designers.
While all those warm and inviting sentiments were the jumping off point for modernism, they were washed away by the retrofuturistic cool of the ’60s, as represented by the adjacent space. Fast forwarding six years (which only requires that the viewer walk about 10 feet) erases the shag and texture of natural materials as they give way to the streamlined contours and space-age forms. Seatbacks recline less comfortably. Palettes shift toward steely greens and greys and shades of blue. The dramatic evolution of taste that favored vinyls and and laminates was informed by the technological advances of the moment. Multi-functional pieces lent themselves to reducing clutter; hewing the extraneous out of this newly minimal aesthetic, Motte took the liberty of installing lights into his nightstands and coffee table, illuminating them through white opaline glass surfaces rather than facilitating the need for something as cumbersome as a lamp.
The exhibit runs from now until February 9th. Demisch Danant is located at 542 west 22nd Street, New York.