FENDI presents Triclinium by Lukas Gschwandtner

This year for Design Miami/, FENDI has invited Vienna-based artist Lukas Gschwandtner to make a new body of work. Seen by Gschwandtner as an opportunity to engage with one another’s boundaries and experiences, he has proposed a triclinium formation of chaise longue chairs, and an iteration of his case study series Pillow Portraits.

The series, which consists of wearable canvas sculptures referencing historical portraits of women reclining on furniture, is now infused by Gschwandtner’s interest and attachment to the history of ancient Rome, ‘The Eternal City’ where FENDI was founded, its art and its architecture as translated through mediated imagery.

The work of Lukas Gschwandtner engages with the scale and measurement of the human body and its interaction with space, furniture, and objects in both historical and contemporary context. He investigates the body language that a piece of furniture suggests and how this proposal is interrupted and repurposed by its use.

Through his recent research Gschwandtner found a personal connection between FENDI’s historic relationship to leather manufacturing and his own background in leather craftsmanship in Vienna, where he trained in leather accessories from the age of 14 at Schloss Hetzendorf. He further identified a material relevance in the atelier’s use of Calico, the heavy, plain-woven textile made from unbleached cotton. Commonly used within the fashion industry for toiles — a first version of a garment made to test a pattern — it had also already been established within Gschwandtner’s practice as a key motif, allowing him to concentrate on pure form.

In this body of work, canvas is seen as an undergarment and additional textile layers as ‘dresses’, their material relationship allowing him to play with proportion and visual weight. When worn, the Pillow Portraits direct the wearer’s body to take on the posture of a corresponding artwork, such as Antonio Canova’s Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix, Titian’s Venus of Urbino and Sleeping Ariadne, the reclining Roman Hadrianic sculpture also evoked in the Giorgio de Chirico painting Solitude, where she appears against a backdrop of arches reminiscent of the FENDI headquarters at Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. Because his canvas sculptures extract simplified forms from the paintings and artworks, their historical, class, and gender context is abstracted, creating room for personal interpretations and democratised experiences.

The final piece presented at Design Miami/ is Lukas’ interpretation of FENDI’s iconic Peekaboo handbag, for which he filled each compartment of the bag with plaster, before cutting away the original material to reveal the bag’s inner construction imprinted on the cast.

In Triclinium, Gschwandtner creates both a subconscious and physical space for conversation, in dialogue with the work, oneself and with others. He reflects on how museums are more often experienced and how ancient surfaces are read in relation to a contemporary inclination for documentation and dissemination.

About Lukas Gschwandtner/

Lukas Gschwandtner (born 1995 / AT) was trained in leather accessories at the age of 14 at Schloss Hetzendorf. Here he was introduced to object making and leather craftsmanship, creating patterns that allowed him to go from two to three dimensions, by applying construction techniques which were to later become integral to his work process. This education was followed by his studies in London, a combination of Architecture and Fine Arts at Chelsea College, where he was able to experiment with the scale of his work.

In 2018, he received a grant from the Arts and Architecture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria for Wiener Maße, for a travelling steel, plaster, and canvas structure focused on interaction through conversation and the resulting impact on our perception of time. The installation was tested at Raven Row and RIBA in London. This was followed by a solo show at Lant Street, curated by Jermaine Gallacher. In 2019 Lukas participated in Peana’s residency exchange programme in Monterrey, Mexico, funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

In 2021 Lukas had the solo show Pillow Portraits with Maniera in Brussels, which was the starting point for his ongoing case study series of wearable canvas sculptures of historical women portrayed on pieces of furniture.

Image: Lukas Gschwandtner in his studio, courtesy of the artist

About FENDI/

The house of FENDI was established by Adele and Edoardo Fendi in Rome in 1925. The opening of the first FENDI boutique – a handbag shop and fur workshop followed. Soon winning international acclaim, FENDI emerged as a brand renowned for its elegance, craftsmanship, innovation, and style. The collaboration with the late Karl Lagerfeld began back in 1965 and lasted 54 years, in 1992 Silvia Venturini Fendi seconded him in the Artistic Direction. In 1994 she is given responsibility of Leather Goods Accessories and then the direction of the Menswear line. In 2000 the LVMH Group acquires FENDI becoming in 2001 its majority shareholder. In September 2020 Kim Jones is appointed Artistic Director of Couture and Womenswear, while Delfina Delettrez Fendi, fourth generation of the Fendi family, joins the Maison as Artistic Director of Jewelry. Fendi is partner of Design Miami/ since 2008. Today FENDI is synonymous with quality, tradition, experimentation, and creativity.