Working desk is one of the pieces from the Entity Identity project. This Project was devised by Veerle Wenes and involved eleven Belgian and Dutch designers and artists having their ideas and designs produced in traditional materials by Chinese artisans. Each of the participants spent a month in Beijing, where they worked with Chinese craftspeople and local traditional workshops. The aim of the project was very much to establish a cross-fertilisation between contemporary Western notions and traditional Chinese know-how.
Working desk resulted from the collaboration with a lacquer Master teaching at the Beijing Art School. Lacquer is a tradition going back to thousands of years. This technic has traditionally been realized on poor, sometimes fragile materials as clay and wood emphasizes their shape and details. The successive layers of vegetable lacquer and the meticulous sanding process reveals the smallest details of the object constituting the core, the soul of the object.
In this piece, the perfectly repeated gestures kept layer after layer the folds and movements of the cloth, fossilising the supple and loose material. The special sheen and visual depth of the lacquer express the versatility and fluidity of textile.
The wooden structure have been developed with a small wood workshop. We worked out to ‘copy’ one of the workingtables used in the workshop, keeping the shape and rough aspect arised from need and usage.
Materials: Elm wood, traditional Urishi lacquered textile
Dimensions: 75 x 113 x 57 cm
Production: Limited batch, 5 nubered pieces
Stedelijk Museum S’Hertogenbosch, 12.2007 – 03.2008
Fragile, Hoet Bekeart gallery, Ghent, summer 2008