Friday, August 14, 2015

Re-designing Form and Function

“The emotional values inherent in inanimate objects intrigue me.”
Rolf Sachs

“Many years ago, I passed an old scientific equipment shop that was closing down and selling off its remaining stock,“ the Swiss born artist/designer/photographer Rolf Sachs told Icon Magazine’s Katie Puckett in 2011.

“I ended up buying a whole collection of different glass flasks, beakers and measuring devices. Originally my intention was only to use them as vases and drinking vessels at home, but I soon developed the idea to use them for a new function [lamps]. Their appeal to me lies in the fact that scientific glassware has no element of superficial decoration, as all the intriguing and varying forms are simply a result of form following function.”

This repurposing of form away from its function is the mainstay of Sachs’ endeavor that pushes his designs into the realm of art.

As he has explained “The humbler the design, the more it inspires me to add my own twist and, in doing so, unlock the hidden soul of the object.”

Likewise his own soul is that of a multi-nationalist rather than that from one place.

As he explained to Schön! Magazine “I consider myself to be more of a European citizen than specific to one country. I was bought up half in Germany, half in France, and I live in England. I think I’m part of the first post-war generation to have this international identity.” 

This ability to see the alternative use for an object has extended into his photography. In his current photographic exhibition Camera in Motion Sachs has used a still camera to capture motion. By taking photographs from a moving train Sachs has blurred the boundaries between landscape photography and abstract art.

And it is this blurring of boundaries that gets Sachs’ creative juices flowing.

As he told Lux Magazine “My view is that design is function and art is emotion… My aim is not to create new forms but more to take existing, recognizable shapes and objects and then to change their aspect or context by moving them into another functional reference, thereby adding an emotional, humoristic or at least surprising element. This helps us to achieve a new vision on art; art is something that should help us to open our minds a little more every day, to be more tolerant, to learn how to think a little freer. If you take objects and place them in an unfamiliar context, people may look at them and say, “Why not?”, and everybody would get a different emotion out of it.”

Sachs’ Camera in Motion exhibition is currently on show at the Leica Gallery Salzburg until the 17th of October.

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