Sebastian Errazuriz and Modern Day Taxidermy

“I try to appropriate, de-contextualize and re-think these objects so they can be returned to reality, re-invented in such a way that they can invite other people to stop, look again and re-think," explains Chilean designer, Sebastian Errazuriz. His Duck Lamp does just that. An architect task lamp (think Luxo's L-1, the inspiration for Wall-E) replaces the head of a stuffed duck, the movable arms mimicking the duck’s elongated neck and the light attachment serving as the head. The resulting object is a functioning lamp that utilizes the practice of taxidermy in the context of design art.

Duck Lamp. Designed by Sebastian Errazuriz.

The designer-artist, represented by the New-York based gallery Cristina Grajales, is evidence that design art was not a passing fad. Errazuriz's designs, limited in quantity, “[change] the way we view and interact with seemingly innocuous objects,” in the words of Wallpaper magazine. He currently has his first solo show: “Sebastian E: Working Against Time” in Soho.

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Errazuriz’s Duck Lamp brings to mind Front Design’s Horse Lamp (for obviously reasons) designed for Moooi in 2006: a seemingly life-size black polyester horse fitted with a light attachment and lamp shade above the horse’s head. The designer’s intentions are different in each case, the Duck Lamp physically incorporates the form of an existing light fixture into the body of a decapitated duck whereas the Horse Lamp is an obviously fictitious version of the animal humorously dressed with a lampshade. Regardless, an interesting trend emerges.

What is life without controversy? Moooi describes the Horse Lamp as ”furniture to fall in love with at first site or hate forever.” Errazuriz’s Duck Lamp likely fits in one of the two categories as well. Wallpaper Magazine’s Francesca Gavin explained that, "Victorian taxidermy was all about scientific study and the natural world. Now it's about inserting narrative, emotion and wit into everyday spaces." Sebastian Errazuriz's duck exemplifies this trend.

Posted June 26, 2009 by Jenny Rector

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