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With the notion of “recovering the past with an eye to the future”, Italian artist duo OKB..SPK’s War Chairs exclusive chair collection has been brought to light. There is a fluidity in their artistic partnership: OKB focuses on the conceptual and is the primary designer while SPK is the “doer” and uses his hands to create whilst adding his own ideas in the process. In collaboration with the skill of a long-time craftsman, Giovanni (l’impaiador, the chair mender), the duo melds traditional chair-mending techniques within current design contexts to create each piece in War Chairs.
OKB..SPK explores, via thorough research into different epochal materials and their contrasting deterioration over time, a peculiarity that differentiates each chair and renders it unique, which is further emphasized from the fusion of the traditional and contemporary.
The collection began with the finding of two chairs dating back to 1915 and 1945 respectively (the starting years of the two World Wars, also the title to the two works). Since the initial discovery of the first two chairs, the project has expanded into further important periods of history, such as the camouflage chair “1965”, the reinforced concrete chair “2001”, the copper-coated iron chair “2015” and the futuristic lamp-chair “2115 Wake Up”. Each chair is made of different materials ranging from iron to beech wood and handcrafted using a myriad of artisanal techniques from hand polishing to burning.
OKB..SPK, as artists, challenge one to think beyond the direct function of the “chair”. Ironic reflection of the chair’s relationship to history is initiated while acknowledging that the chair, a static emblem of routine and everyday life, is a feature of every age, which changes and evolves through the inexorable passage of time.