All the ceramic pieces were made by three professional kickboxers in their training gym by punching clay on wooden molds. They were given fifteen seconds and were asked to box a piece of clay as it was a punching bag and preferably to cover as much of mold surface as possible.
The work points out the importance of the direction of process. Instead of designing an object, the story was designed, which acts as a framework for the final objects to appear. The work is based on the concept that design is not a craft of matter but the one of ideas.
Photography: Lonneke van der Pallen
“The people I was lucky to work with were all professional kickboxers. They perfectly fit in the ‘craftsman’ category as they earn a living using their skillful hands. We worked in the boxing ring, pieces of clay punched with their bare hands. We used six different wooden moulds that were painted in several thick layers of pink colour. Those wooden shapes were like abstract body parts, and were damaged in the punching and clay drying process, revealing wounds and scars <…>
A few times during the process some other boxer asked one of my ‘craftsman’ what the hell they were doing with that dirty piece of clay on some strangely erotic pinkish shape mounted on a metal rod in the middle of the boxing ring. My boxer replied that it happened to be a design project. Unsatisfied with the answer the first person asked again if the boxer in the ring was sure that it’s design because it seemed more like an art project. There was no answer from the ring to that question. Looking back at my project, I think that precisely these few conversations were the real value of the work. I thought it was just me who was doubting ‘what is design’, but now there are at least a few boxers who have the same question in their mind. I see it as a success.”
An excerpt from “Tauras Stalnionis, Bewildered by the Tag of ‘Designer’, Explores What it Means to Design.” / Ceramic Review / July - August 2014, London, UK