Get those auction lewks pressed and cleaned, people—Swedish luxury carpet brand Henzel Studio is officially teaming up with auction house Paddle8 to bring rugs created by over fifteen contemporary artists to auction online. Including carpets designed by the creative likes of Helmut Lang, Marilyn Minter, and a special collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation, a portion of the auction proceeds will go towards the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) as they continue to do lifesaving work and research as a nonprofit HIV/AIDS organization. The Henzel Studio carpets have long been sourced from the finest materials like wool from New Zealand and silks from Nepal, and uniquely straddle the line between art for observation and art for utility.
Just before the auction’s launch, L’Officiel had the opportunity to chat with 5 artists whose works will be featured in the collaboration. Read on to get a glimpse into the creative minds behind this celebration of innovative art and charitable hearts.
Helmut Lang, "Untitled"
How did you come up with the unique shape of your carpet?
The carpet is based on a sculpture of mine. I proposed it to Calle Henzel and he translated its shape and surface in a really interesting and intricate way.
Why did you choose to leave the work untitled?
I do this very often. It is not uncommon for me.
Is this work for observation or utility?
I was actually thinking it would be made for utility, but if the space is right, it actually displays really well as an art piece on the wall.
Olaf Breuning, “Black and White People”
What about the shape of the human body inspires you to make it a recurring element of your work?
My work is mostly about the simple questions of life and of course, the human is the main actor in this. Using the human body. It is a straightforward way to talk very uncomplicated-ly about possibly complicated things. The human body is a good transmitter for this.
What was your process of creating the illusion of depth in your carpet?
To be honest, I just took the photo and tried to create an optical illusion with these body morph suits. The design of the 3d carpet was all the beautiful work of Henzel Studio. I like when someone is inspired by a work of mine and creates something even more exciting out of it.
Can you talk about the sense of playfulness in your work? Is it a conscious decision during your creative process?
I hope I am a little conscious about my work! Humor and playfulness are big parts of my language. It is just my way to make potential heavy thoughts more digestible. If one looks at life very analytically and rationally he/she might get very quick depressed. Of course, I'm talking about myself. Humor is definitely my rose-colored sunglasses.
Marilyn Minter, “Cracked Glass”
What drew you to the aesthetics of cracked glass?
It is just a variation of glass in general, the way the image fractures behind glass.
What inspired your choice of colors for the carpet?
I just stayed true to the colors of when I shot the photograph.
What was your creative process like for this project?
I don't think I have been.
Jonathan Horowitz, “Rainbow Cross for Two”
The carpet you’ve created connects powerful symbolisms between the LGBTQ+ community and religion. Can you tell me how you were inspired by these topics?
Gay people haven’t fared too well over the millennia at the hands of organized religion, or at the hands of hardly any group, for that matter. I see the double cross as a broad, open symbol. You can think of other pairings as well.
How do you view the intersections between the personal, politics, and art?
Sometimes I feel compelled to make things that are more personal and political, sometimes less. But all art has politics in it and says something about the person who made it. It’s just a given.
As you know, the profits from the carpet will benefit The Elton John AIDS Foundation. Have you been influenced by the artist, if so, in what way?
When I was a kid, I loved all of his different eyeglass frames, especially the ones with windshield wipers. And I really wanted a pair of electric boots.
Michael Hermann, Director of Licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, “MARILYN”
Out of all of Andy Warhol’s work, what drew your curatorial eye most to the Marilyn pop art prints for the carpets?
Warhol’s iconic Marilyn portraits are timeless depictions of our fascination with beauty and celebrity that are even more relevant today than when they were made.
How did you go about the mapping and deconstructing of her face when deciding which sections to reproduce?
Our interest in this collaboration was not to create reproductions of existing works but instead to present new contemporary interpretations of Warhol’s iconic works as seen through the bold, deconstructed lens of Henzel Studio.
How, if at all, was Andy Warhol inspired by the work of Elton John? How are you influenced by those artists?
Warhol’s work and Elton’s music have both withstood the test of time because they offer a universality and unique perspective that goes far beyond any moment or trend.
Jwan Yosef, "Untitled"
Much of your work ties in highlights dimension and 3-D shapes. What was it like to work on a carpet, something that is more or less 2-D?
In a way I dont really consider this carpet as a 2 dimensional piece, because Im working with the reference to masking tape. It's actually a pretty accurate 3-dimensional imitation of the real object. The elevations of the crossing 'tape pieces' are pretty real in proportions, this all made it a pretty obvious and fun object to work with.
What inspires you about neutral tones?
I think there's something striking in working in pretty basic and straightforward colors and tones. It's easy to recognize and there for easier to read, and this work is meant to be understood.
How did you come up with the masking tape style?
I wanted to superimpose the idea of an adhesive object. To somehow tie a room and its contents together through the image of a masking tape strip.