by STIRworldMay 03, 2023
What is time? Time in physics is mostly defined by what Albert Einstein said, "What a clock reads." Many religions have the concept of the 'wheel of time', where time is considered cyclical consisting of repeating ages that happen to every being of the universe between birth and extinction. In Greek mythology, time can be Chronos (numeric or chronological period) and Kairos (the right or opportune moment). In Kabbalah—a school of thought in Jewish mysticism—time is a 'paradox' and an 'illusion.' Extending this discussion more, in Western philosophy time can be perceived either through the realist eyes of Newton where time is a fundamental scale to the universe or from the perspectives of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, for whom, time is neither an event nor a thing, therefore not measurable. The definitions of time thus go on, oscillating between science, philosophy, literature, psychology and simple emotions of a moment.
The subtext of TIMEMADE, a project by Italy-born designer David Dolcini, states: 'A return to the proper timing of things,' 'time' here, once again adorned subjective definitions. His latest exhibition, also titled TIMEMADE, is a part of Copenhagen's 3daysofdesign from June 6-9, 2023. Curated by Italian curator and educator Marco Sammicheli and presented at the Italian Institute of Culture, the exhibition encompasses a series of unique pieces where wood becomes the central material.
In addition to the project's byline, the official release mentions the exhibition as "a personal reflection on time takes shape in a transversal collection." Adding to it, they state, "TIMEMADE is an introspective examination of time, manifested in a versatile collection" and define the series as "a journey that mirrors the essence of time." Therefore, before your eyes fall on the immaculate craftsmanship, the perfect voids and incomplete solids of Dolcini, your first question would be: 'If the objects are 'time-made' and that time here is subjective, what is time for Dolcini?"
Talking to STIR, Dolcini shares, "My family history was directly connected with wood since 1838. And that's the reason why wood is my passion. The meaning of all I have done is a free research that is not connected directly to a brief, or a deadline. Time is actually the main element of this project, the time to do things and the time that made things possible. For the first time, the research was free of constraints and I was freely looking into traditional Japanese architecture, temple architecture and ancient Chinese ink painting. That was the beginning. Then I took a step back and I saw a collection, I saw something altogether, and I decided to present it in Milan a year ago. It was there that Marco found me"
Every piece, every idea was an evolution of the piece before. It is also the genesis of the piece after. - David Dolcini
"David Dolcini belongs to that long Italian tradition of designers who think with their hands. This definition is not mine but that of Enzo Mari, who chose the perfect mathematics of artisanship to synthesise an aesthetic applied to the everyday. And this is how Dolcini experiments with wood, the living material. TIMEMADE is his personal Academy of Cimento from which a grammar is born that freezes time and inhabits space," shares Sammicheli.
Transcending the role as a wooden object or wood sculpture, TIMEMADE unravels in the exhibition space as the result of a conversation between a designer who understands the material as a carpenter and workmanship that appears more like a ritual than a 'work.' The visual weightage of the collection is strong, whether the geometry precision, the shapes perfectly fitting their places or the abstract forms, which resonate a uniform design language but each with a verse of its own. The work tools Dolcini uses can be considered extensions of his hand. In the exercise repeated over time, each object of the collection becomes an experience refined by the designer and reinserts that into projects for the industry. At the exhibition are objects from different series such as—Innesti, Overlaps, Tralci and Conversi—created as a part of the TIMEMADE project. The Innesti (Grafts) series follow the logic of the joint, of the link and raises the question of how to create an assemblage and compose a continuity. Overlaps originate from Dolcini's thought of the composition. Tralci (Branches) think in terms of continuity and in Conversi (Converses) everything is explicit.
In conversation with Amit Gupta, Founder and Editor-in-chief, STIR, at TIMEMADE, Sammicheli adds, "Everyone is asking if Dolcini will transform this into a furniture collection. I said, please, no, don't do it. This is an exercise. This is a meditation. This is also a way that you capture time in space. It's something that we completely forgot in our rhythm of life that we are also to deliver. We have to succeed. We have to accomplish a mission, and the mission is an ongoing process. This is like a journey, and that's what I admire about Dolcini's work."
Often, designers forget about these aspects, and in their personal race towards the new, there is blind faith in the present, as if it were the only and snappy frontier capable of answering the present. —Marco Sammicheli
At the Institute, every piece from the TIMEMADE collection sits in tandem with time. Even in real time, the stationary pieces seem to move in slow motion. You cannot seem to rush through the objects in front of you. TIMEMADE is not a series of pieces that can be revisited to find new meanings every time you see them. There is only one concept, one definition and one thought but that one thing is subjective and can only be found if you take your time with it—almost as if the objects call for the visitors to be patient with it as the designer was. As the curatorial note states, "TIMEMADE is not an entirely controlled practice. Accidentality is a variable contemplated, almost expected by the designer who, although possessing a clear competence in the catalogue of joints, inserts, and hinges, is ready for the unexpected. Its morphology resembles botanical grafts in which the artificial balance borrows habits that the designer observes in nature. Dolcini seeks to facilitate a process of cohesion between gestures, ideas, and results. The sense of precariousness is vaguely contained by an approach to wood and its traditions of meditative origin."