’Klint + Kjaerholm’ show, Dansk Mobelkunst, Zurich
A few eyebrows were artfully raised at the announcement last year that Dansk Møbelkunst - the specialist gallery for 20th-century Danish furniture and applied artworks - was relocating its flagship showroom from Copenhagen to Zurich. But the move, clearly motivated by the pull of its well-heeled and more centrally-based European clientele, has only enhanced, we think, the accessibility of its exhibitions - the first of which in the new space is a retrospective honouring Kaare Klint and Poul Kjærholm.
Widely acknowledged as two of Denmark’s finest furniture designers, the juxtaposition of Klint and Kjærholm in a single space seems, at first look, a little disconnected especially in terms of their material of choice: Klint worked almost exclusively with wood, while Kjærholm championed steel.
But common threads emerge quickly. Klint taught at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts where his students included the younger Kjærholm who would, in turn, become a lecturer there one day too. More importantly, throughout their prolific careers, both cleaved closely to the form follows function school of thought, while blending often complicated traditional craft techniques with a distinctly modern visual DNA.
In the simply named ’Klint + Kjærholm’ show, Dansk Møbelkunst has curated a small but perfectly proportioned visual feast of the pair’s best works, including Klint’s collapsible table and ’Faaborg’ chair; and Kjærholm’s iconic ’Shell’ chair. Seen side by side for the first time, it doesn’t take long to realise that the works of both designers are defined less by the alleged differences in their styles than by their clearly defined commitment to the proportionate form.
And a bonus: The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that contains an essay by Michael Sheridan, an authority on Kjærholm’s work.