Audio guide stop for Simon Starling, Work, Made-ready, In Light of Nature, 2003
Elisabeth Sherman: Hi. My name is Elisabeth Sherman. I'm an assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The four vitrines here compose a work by Simon Starling called Work Made-ready, In Light of Nature. Simon Starling was directly inspired for this work by an artist named Karl Blossfeldt, who taught in Berlin between 1899 and 1930.
Blossfeldt is very well known for his photographs of botanical structures documenting almost for the first time the inherent forms in the natural world around us. In addition to these photographs, Blossfeldt was also making bronze models from which his students could draw and sculpt these botanical structures.
Starling was interested in the way that these botanical structures from this moment forward began to inform much of industrial product design. Objects that seemed very distant in our daily lives from the natural world, but whose design is actually inspired directly from these natural structures. For example, in this work he took a contemporary office chair, deconstructed an aluminum component of it, melted that aluminum component down, and recast the original Blossfeldt model of the plant using the material from today to hearken back to the original early twentieth-century model.