Channeling the hodge podge design spirit of Enzo Mori and the artistic alchemy of a latter day Joseph Beuys, Florian Borkenhagen’s latest exhibition – TransSakrales at the Gabrielle Ammann gallery – provides a refreshing take on this Hamburg-based designer’s do-it-yourself artistic approach.
Featuring a range of adapted wheelbarrow bases, ski-bottomed seating units and portable religious iconography, Borkenhagen pokes an ironic finger of fun at the recycling trend, whilst endeavoring to reinterpret the way in which we each relate to our surrounds.
The professor of Interior Design at the Hamburg academy of Fashion and Design, Borkenhagen’s work straddles the space between art and design with its sculptural, found-object visual dialectic.
With his passion for mobility (Borkenhagens sent a giant sculptural head on a round-the world container-ship cruise tour for two years back in 1998) and desire to challenge design conventions, Borkenhagen’s work - with its careworn, slightly mad professor aesthetic – encourages a looser interpretation of the standard design approach.
With his ‘energy-saving’ wheelbarrow-based sedan chair; transportable epiphany – featuring a trio of reinterpreted versions of the three kings’ gifts – and a mini, rust-worn church, Borkenhagen’s impractical yet wholly inventive work sits on just the right side of creative comic relief.