From De Gournay’s LA Home Away From Home to Nickey Kehoe’s Arrival in NYC, Here Are AD’s Discoveries of the Month

An art fair in Basel, Switzerland, is not the first place you’d expect to find a figure stretched out, catching some rays. But that’s where Sunbather, Barbora Zilinskaite’s first outdoor piece of functional sculpture, is making its debut. “I imagined a reclining form in a garden next to a house,” the Brussels-based talent explains of the leggy bench, on view from June 10 through 16 at Design Miami/Basel as part of Friedman Benda gallery’s booth.

The piece marks a turning point for Zilinskaite’s ongoing series of anthropomorphic works, typically made by smearing a mixture of sawdust, glue, and pigment over a plywood skeleton. To equip Sunbather for the elements, she cast its body in pale yellow concrete, using an earlier work from her recent solo show “Chairs Don’t Cry” to create the mold.

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Photo: Timothy Doyon/Friedman Benda and Barbora Žilinskaitė.

“I want to give objects some kind of soul,” says Zilinskaite, who began this creative inquiry five or so years ago after noticing seemingly human elements—eyes, mouths, noses—in her otherwise abstract sketches. Her first grouping, named Roommates, comprised a stool in the shape of a folded-over foot; a four-fingered magazine rack; and a cocktail table with a face. Since then, her pieces have become steadily more complex. A headless body functions as a sideboard, while hands—a recurring theme—appear as cabinet doors. “They’re so alive, especially when they move,” Zilinskaite explains.

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Photo: Timothy Doyon/Friedman Benda and Barbora Žilinskaitė.

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