Venus d’Arles plaster replica circa.1880. Mahogany wood, Brass elements
L: 38 x W: 41 x H: 94 in (L:96,5 x W:104 x H:238,7cm)
Antiquity is a homage to the historical icon Venus D’Arles. Originally a gift from Julius Caesar to the city of Arles, the sculpture was lost until its unearthing in 17th century Versailles. Venus was the center of a debate at the Louvre where the question of its placement was raised, should it be among the antiquities or 17th century galleries? The meaning of Art has been questioned by every movement in art history. In the same way, the “sacrilege” that takes place in this piece investigates the meaning of art through time.
In full view, an intricate system of strategically placed mahogany shelves surround and veil the marble statue, allowing an interesting play with the seen and unseen. This wooden framework functions as a bookshelf that can hold eclectic items, but it also doubles as "scaffolding," paralleling the experience of a tourist visiting an antique sculpture under conservation.
“I wanted to play with the notion of the seen and unseen," explains Sebastian ErraZuriz. "At the same time, my goal was to turn an invaluable statue into a functional design, breaking the boundaries of classification and turning one of the world's most famous sculptures into a mundane bookshelf.”
The fluid body of Venus, half draped-half naked, creates a beautiful contrast with the wooden scaffold that may appear haphazard at first glance but is carefully constructed and placed to accommodate the load of books and other objects. Sebastian manages to turn an art piece into a functional element, merging the lines of art and design into a show-stopping piece.