Opening in May 2021, Autonomous Design presents the work of seven contemporary Danish artists, designers, and architects at the Schindler House on Kings Road. Functional, practical, commercial: these terms, often associated with the applied arts, historically are set in contrast to creative processes traditionally reserved for the fine arts. The recent works of these seven designers ask how constraint becomes a vehicle for innovation. Through contemporary applications of craft and design, this exhibition explores design’s agency in a post-functional world. Participating designers and artists include Eske Rex, Kasper Kjeldgaard, MBADV, Margrethe Odgaard, Cecilie Bendixen, benandsebastian, and Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm. This exhibition is curated by Priscilla Fraser in collaboration with the Danish Art Foundation.
benandsebastian (Ben Clement, born 1981, United Kingdom; Sebastian de la Cour, born 1980, Denmark) are interested in how meaning becomes embedded in spaces that evoke absence, and how particular gaps in knowledge, such as lost objects, broken artifacts or excluded narratives, act upon the imagination. This can be seen in their ongoing work, Museum of Nothing, which exists as a series of departments installed in institutional contexts: most recently Department of Voids, at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, and at Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen.
Cecilie Bendixen (born 1975, Denmark) is an artist and architect drawn to natural phenomena. Bendixen graduated as an architect from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in 2005, followed by a PhD in 2013. In 2017, Bendixen was nominated for the Nordic Textile Awards, and the same year she received the Bindesboell Medal. Her works are part of important private and public collections, such as the Danish Art Foundation and the Galila Barzilaï-Hollander Collection, Brussels. Exhibitions include the World Biennial of Contemporary Textile Art, Madrid; Crafted Matter, Korea; Design Miami Basel; Rundetaarn, Copenhagen and FIAC Hors les Murs, Paris.
Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm
Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm (born 1977, Denmark) established her studio in 2007 after graduating from The Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen with prior studies in Stockholm, Sweden and Berlin, Germany. In 2017 Halstrøm received the Three Year Work grant from The Danish Arts Foundation / Statens Kunstfond. Halstrøm is interested in working with familiarity, openness and anonymity as topics in order to create new expressions and purposes for objects. She applies this interest whether working with companies such as Skagerak and Design Within Reach, clients for interior projects, or with objects for exhibitions. In addition to running her own studio, Halstrøm is part of the duo INCLUDED MIDDLE together with textile designer Margrethe Odgaard.
Eske Rex (born 1977, Denmark) is based in Copenhagen. His works are created at the intersection of profound craftsmanship and poetic resonance, creating vibrant spaces around them. Rex graduated from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Furniture and Spatial Design, Copenhagen 2008. He has received the Finn Juhl Prize (Denmark, 2019), and the Three Year Working Grant from Danish Arts Foundation (2016). He has made permanent commission work for The International Criminal Court in The Hague (The Netherlands, 2015). Recently he has exhibited works at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanasawa and Verbeke Foundation, Belgium.
Kasper Kjeldgaard (born 1983, Denmark) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts of Design in 2016. In a poetic universe of balance and suspense, Kjeldgaard explores and communicates aspects of nature, such as friction and gravity, in the process of making. Kjeldgaard’s work has a refined expression with a clear emphasis on craftsmanship. His objects hide nothing, and rather lay their inner workings bare, available for decoding. Kjeldgaard’s works have been exhibited at Mindcraft in Milano, The Curio – Chart Art Fair and at Patrick Parrish Gallery in New York, among others.
Margrethe Odgaard (born 1978, Denmark), a textile and color designer, applies herself to the sensual quality of color in the surface. With her intense focus on the interaction of color, material and space, she aims to become clearer about how we as humans experience and emotionally connect with the world around us. Her exhibition catalogue includes solo exhibitions at Willumsen’s Museum (DK), Röhsska Museum (SE), Designmuseo Helsinki (FI), and Munkeruphus (DK). In 2015 she received the Three-year work grant from The Danish Arts Foundation and in 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Award (SE). In addition to running her own studio, Margrethe Odgaard is part of the design duo INCLUDED MIDDLE together with furniture designer Chris L. Halstrøm. She graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design in 2005 with additional studies at Rhode Island School of Design in USA.
MBADV is a Copenhagen based studio founded in 2013 by furniture designer Maria Bruun (born 1984, Denmark) and architect Anne Dorthe Vester (born 1984, Denmark). Intrigued by the notion of the dialogue, MBADV often focuses on abstractions, like idioms, functional hybrids, and on the aesthetics of materials and form in relation to surrounding spaces – all created with attention to the crafted detail. In 2014 MBADV debuted with the distinct work series ‘Objects of Use’ at Etage Projects. The following year the series was awarded the National Solo Prize at the Spring Exhibition. MBADV has had solo exhibitions at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen and in Bagsværd Church designed by Jørn Utzon. They have presented their works on the international design and art scene on prominent platforms such as Mindcraft in Milan, Design Miami Basel and Patrick Parrish in New York.
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