Works in Metal

Anastassiades & Anthonioz
19 Feb 2015
17 May 2015

Instead of choosing the easy possibility of dedicating the exhibition to the work of a single author, the Machado-Muñoz gallery has chosen to present the work of two authors in its first exhibition; the Cypriot Michael Anastassiades and the Frenchman Philippe Anthonioz. Two creators who are said to be positioned halfway between design and art but who are both quite reluctant to accept the labels that try to classify them.

The meeting point between the two that the art gallery directors want to point out is their common interest in a very primitive as well as contemporary material such as metal. Their pieces are an obvious sign that the two creators tackle this material in very different ways. It is both a confrontation and a dialogue between different authors who work with two very different points of view, two ways of approaching the piece. Each piece has its own characteristics and strengths, and each one is a sort of declaration of principles, a letter of identity that defines its author. Even though at first glance the pieces of each one are clearly recognisable, with a perfectly distinct visual language, upon taking a closer look the two authors have much in common.

They are both in some way interested in the interaction of the piece with the user and the effect this has on the space in which they meet. The light, shiny pieces of Anastassiades, polished to the point that they look like mirrors, contrast with the rough, matt, dark pieces of Anthonioz. Anastassiades is a man of order, a control freak almost, who leaves nothing to chance in his creative process; everything is calculated to the last detail. Anthonioz is a lover of improvisation, a man who does not work with preconceived ideas, letting his hands create the shape when working with plaster which is then transformed into bronze.

In the flawless work of Anastassiades, there is no sign of the manual labour of the craftsman who creates them; however in the expressive pieces of Anthonioz, he does not delegate, he himself creates his pieces and leaves the imprint of his hand, the deliberate human touch remains and is admired. The pointed edges of Anastassiades, contrast with the irregular, soft edges of Anthonioz. Yet they are still in a way similar and both use amazing quality materials and have quality finishes. They share a sensuality which is inherent to them, a taste for proportion, a sense of timelessness, of the permanence in time of what is created, far from what is in trend.
They also coincide in a more profound, more intense manner, in the most consubstantial aspect of their work, that essential vocation that their pieces exude. The work of Anastassiades reflects the discipline with which it was created to achieve a very monastic, meditative and almost Zen state. He is a Puritan creator, ecclesiastical in a way, driven by the need for perfection and purification, which he has rationalised to the point of pure geometry, without giving way to the unnecessary. This approach to abstraction also leads us to Anthonioz, who in a more voluptuous way refines the shapes, removes the excess until he approaches the essential. The dialogue between the two designers or artists (what difference does it make?) is unexpected and rewarding. Come and see for yourself. Come and use it.

Interview Hans Ulrich Obrist