Pop-up Tate- Barbara Hepworth


“Pelagos”(literally translating to ‘sea’ in Greek) is the result of the profound connection between the specific environment  of St Ives, Cornwall, England and the artist Barbara Epworth.  Pelagos is  also an abstract representation of the experience the artist felt while contemplating the sea and thus, becomes a dialogue between the artist and the surrounding environment.

“PELAGOS” by Dame Barbara Epworth, 1946. 

Tate Britain (“1940” room). personal picture


The use of a shell as inspiration for the “Pelagos” sculpture illustrates the wish from Barbara Epworth to remind her the specific scenery observed in  St Ives. But above all, the curvy shape of “Pelagos”  illustrates the relation between form and space and the dynamic movement resulting from this relation. The idea of using the shell as a reference to create an abstract representation of  a specific Landscape from St Ives conveys a will from Barbara Epworth to reconnect herself with this specific scenery from St Ives.

Thus, “Pelagos”  becomes more than experimentation between shapes and materials or, a representation of a  “perfect relationship between the mind and the colour” (Barbara Epworth) , it is an opportunity to everybody standing in front of it to experiment and feel the mouvement and the tension that the artist felt while observing the St Ives landscape.

To accentuate this idea of tension between her and the sea, Barbara Epworth added  taut strings, symbole of her relationship with St Ives landscape.


Analysis of “PELAGOS”, Personal drawing 25-04-2018

That is why I have chosen Barbara Hepworth’ s “Pelagos “, because the sculpture  depicts this particular relationship between the artist and the landscape, ” Something” as she said: “I cannot feel in a city”. The use of organic shapes as inspiration to depict, the connection with our natural  environment will be useful for my Brighton project to reconnect people with the sea side.

Furniture and Innovation

The choice may be an easy one, but I do believe that the Thonet ‘s  “Bistrot chair N.14”, 1859, remain an obvious and one of the best example of the 19 century to illustrate the innovation behind the design and manufacturing process. This chair was a clear statement from Michael Thonet to demonstrate the benefits of an industrial and serial process, resulting from the latest developemnts in the building industry. Michael Thonet demonstarted that industrial processes  can now be applied to all sort of objects from everyday life such as a chair.


Bistrot Chair N.14. Michael Thonet, 1859

Pictures from  ” Histoire du Design de 1940 a nos jours”,P.19. Raymond . Guidot.  1994 – 2005


In my opinion this is what Furniture Design should be: constant research and experimentations to re-think the way we conceive,  use and interact with objects.

In addition, I would say that  designing a furniture is also about challenging the use of materials to push to the extrem their technical capacities. In this instance I am convinced that, Alvar Alto’s Deckchair N.39, 1936-1939 illustrate perfectly this aspect of pushing the technical boundaries of the use of specific material such as the Birch wood. Indeed in using the glum technic, Alvar Alto succeded in designing a flexible, resistant and above all confortable chair while, rethinking the manufacturing process of wood to achieve an innovative result wildly acclaimed in 1937 during the ” Exposition des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne – Paris” ( Arts and Technic Exposition in the modern life -Paris).

“Chaise-Longue” (Deckchair). Alvar Alto, 1936-1939

Pictures from  ” Histoire du Design de 1940 a nos jours”,P.35. Raymond . Guidot.  1994 – 2005


Finally, this idea of “challenge” can also be found in modern period such as in Danny Lane’ Chair 1988. Indeed, when using Glass material to design his version  of a chair, Danny Lane create a “two identity” piece of furniture: a chair that becomes  a sculpture.

“Chair”, Danny Lane, 1988.

Personal picture, Victoria and Albert Museum, London


In opting for this approach, the artist challenge our primitive use of the chair and, turn this everyday life object, so considering by many as a basic furniture, into a sculpture to  question its real function.

Artists and their work: Enrique Oliveira & Gregory Emvy


Firstly, by observing the work of the two artists, a common point can be made. The use of organic material as initial medium to express their ideas in a form of abstract sculptures or furniture as noticed in Henrique Oliveira’s Transarquitetonica project, 2014 or, in Gregory Emvy’s Nature Bench project, 2017.

Regarding the work of Henrique Oliveira, the medium used remain essentially wood, especially the “Tapumes” wood coming from palisade used to stop the access to working site. The Brazilian artist joins different layers of the Tapume wood to create  special texture and  colour effects that reflect, metaphorically, to the divers Brazilian Favela builds with the same type of wood.

Transarquitetonica-Museum of Contemporary Art, University of São Paulo, Henrique Oliveira, 2014

However the material palette used by the Russian artist Gregory Emvy remains more Eclectic. It includes wood, concrete, copper. The artist use those“traditional everyday material” Gregory Emvy, 2018 to express a form of abstraction in his piece of furniture that echoes the Arte Povera artwork like observed in the Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Mobili Capovolti, 1976.

Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Mobili Capovolti, 1976

The use and interaction of those materials  allow the Gregory Emvy and Enrique Oliveira  to depict a sense of harmony and fluidity in their work reached through divers colours, textures material experimentations.

Nature bench, Gregory Emvy, 2017



In Gregory Emvy’ works the material experimentation Rough vs. smooth, polished vs. brushed, allows the artist as explained in the article from YATZER gallery,

Eric David, 2018 to create artwork with a “geological and/ or Industrial sensibility”while creating and harmonious balance between the “ natural and the artificial” aspects developed through the interaction of divers materials.

The use of “rough and smooth” materials allow Gregory Emvy to implement an abstract approach in  the proposed pieces of furniture like observed in “Nature metamorphoses” that depict the interest of  the artist for the architecture but also reflect his inspiration in the Surrealism and Constructivism movements.


Nature Metamorphoses,  Gregory Emvy 2017

One of the main objectives of Gregory Emvy is to express a form of simplicity in the combination of material while achieving the singularity and the complexity aspects of a sculpture work.


Gregory Emvy, ‘”Deep Blue Sea”‘, 2017, ADN Galería

In doing so, the artist elevate an everyday piece of furniture, as observed in the chair project , ‘”Deep Blue Sea”‘, 2017, to the rank of piece of art, so the artist work in addition of being inspired to the Surrealism and Constructivism movements, could also be linked to the Ready Made movement.

However, the Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira uses only one type of Brazilian wood for his projects to achieve this aspect of uniqueness and abstraction in the achieved work as observed in the Baitogogo project, Paris,2013. The difference with Gregory Emvy, is that the organic material used in the Brazilian artist work reflect the Brazilian cultural identity while, in Gregory Emvy work the palette of material is essentially used to depict an harmonious balance between abstraction and figuration or organic and industrial.

Baitogogo, Henrique Oliveira, Exhibition in Palais de Paris, 2013

Furthermore, Henrique Oliveira explains that in his work he is looking for a spatial experience and tries to establish a relation with the viewer by creating those “pictorial and organic” artworks that reflect a sense of transformation and movement that guide people through the space.

To conclude, the artist adds that in his art work, the real message is defined by “the lack of message”, Henrique Oliveira, YATZER, 2016. Indeed, the wood material used in his work is sufficient to convey the idea behind the process. Indeed, the “Tapumes” wood metaphorically depicts the Brazilian Favelas that  composed the architectural identity of Sao Paulo habitats.

In this instance, the medium used carry the message itself so there is no need of long and elaborated speeches. Sometimes the simplicity and sobriety of the material and colour palettes used by the artist is more effective than a long speech to convey The message and thus depict in a more sufficient way the artist identity.