Exhibition of new and recent works by Aki + Arnaud Cooren opens at Carpenters Workshop Gallery New York

Artdaily_Carpenters Workshop Gallery New York presents Between Realities, an exhibition of new and recent works by Aki + Arnaud Cooren in conversation with the works of German sculptor and photographer, Thomas Demand. Between Realities develops the themes underpinning the Tiss-Tiss collection, leaning into the visual dissonance between reality and the appearance of each artwork. Aki + Arnaud capture the delicate textual materiality of linen, alchemized in cast aluminum. The result is a trompe l’oeil effect that deceives the perception of the viewer, upon closer inspection the true nature of the work is discovered.

The French philosopher, Jean Baudrillard, has an immense impact on the practice of both Aki + Arnaud Cooren and Thomas Demand. Baudrillard’s thesis ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ touches on the relationship between reality, symbols, and society, in particular the significations and symbolism of culture involved in constructing and understanding of shared experience. Baudrillard’s philosophy reflects in each artwork, where the fabric delicately becomes a simulacrum of fabric.

The Tiss-Tiss artworks display a relief of fabric on the surface and sewn stitch imprints on the edges of each sand-cast aluminum component. The artists capture a moment in time during which the linen fabric is carefully laid out and emphasize the beauty of traditional hand-weaving techniques and the resulting irregularities in the cloth. The fluid impression of the textile imprint is juxtaposed with the architectonic, self-supporting structure of the rigid aluminum plates. From a distance, the furniture seems soft and made in fabric, but close you realize that it’s rigid and made in aluminum.

In a similar manner Thomas Demand suspends disbelief; meticulously captures ephemeral models through a camera. Demand’s photographs may seem objective and innocuous, but each scene is in fact a handmade sculptural environment, rather than the real world they appear to capture. The artists are also linked via an appreciation of architectural forms, as well as an interest in ephemerality. Demand’s sculptures live on in his photographs; instantaneous ripples of movement in fabric are trapped in metal by Aki + Arnaud.

New works in the show include the Cowcodile low table, exemplary of the Aki + Arnaud’s ability to render one material as another. Cows leather is combined with resin to create a texture seemingly identical to crocodile skin, appropriating the skin of one animal into another.

50 Lambs for a Coyote: A Tribute to Joseph Beuys are two pieces handmade by Aki + Arnaud, developed to pay homage to the German artist, in specific reference to Beuys’ 1974 performance I Like America and America Likes Me. The twin artworks convey the same respect for American Indian tribes expressed by Beuys in his original performance, as Aki + Arnaud hold the savoir-faire of Native Americans and their understanding of coherence with the natural world in high esteem.

The two chairs are made from felt and grease, two very important materials to Beuys, as well as lamb skin leather that was discarded from a shoe manufacturer due to its non-uniform color - incidentally, the exact quality that drew the artists to it. These unique pieces are entirely realized by the hands of Aki + Arnaud in their Paris atelier.