Olivier Schildt

"The Map of the Entire Known Universe" / Edition 07 / $2,900

OLIVIER SCHILDT (b.1975) is a graphic designer who lives and works between South Africa and France. Inspired by the intersections between mathematics and aesthetics, much of his work explores the ways that abstract, mathematically generated patterns can simultaneously reveal and obscure images, depending on the distance from which they are viewed. Schildt's work has been featured in several exhibitions, including 'Trespass' at Resolution Gallery, Johannesburg (2008) and 'Suss't: An Exhibition of Sustainable Design' at Kwazulu National Society of Arts, Durban (2009).

artwork

How would you describe what you do?

I'm a graphic designer who oscillates between commissioned work and my own projects, but I'm more interested in work that allows for personal expression. Rather than decorative and figurative designs, I tend to focus more on abstract patterns and the ways they can be used to express emotions or create certain kinds of affect.

How do you work? Do you have a studio?

I like to travel and work at the same time – I'm quite nomadic in this regard. So my laptop has become my studio.

How does that influence your practice?

I find that I'm deeply influenced by what I see and experience, particularly when I travel and I'm exposed to unfamiliar sights, cultures and practices. This filters down into my thinking process while I'm working. I like to use these experiences as inspiration for my designs, using them to add new themes and subtle hints, weaving themes together as I design, to almost 'over-complicate' the work. My hope is that something unexpected and authentic will be realised within the piece as a result of this process.

What role does craft play in your work?

In my work, craft has always been about finding balance, whether that's in the composition, the form or in the mood of the piece. I'll keep working on a piece – tweaking, adding, subtracting – looking for that balance. I think that is the craft in the work that I do. The changing, looking, changing and looking again. It's when the work finally achieves that balance that it begins to resonate with me.

How important is experimentation to your practice?

It's key. From the time I started to doodle as a boy, it's always been about looking for the accidents — the unplanned image that comes out of an abstract drawing or pattern. I still do this today, just with more sophisticated tools. I like to push the software I use beyond what it was intended to do. These accidental discoveries bring me great joy.

What similarities are there between your practice and Spider Murphy's?

Spider's work is all about crafting a beautiful tool that has to perform under very specific constraints. It needs to take in so many variables – from the surfer's size to his style, from his own strengths and weaknesses to the conditions of the surf. The 'craft' needs to balance all these variables, and to innovate at the same time. Over time, through trial and error, the shaper becomes more specialised and is able to create more nuanced results — both aesthetically and functionally. That level of craft is rare and precious. In the case of my own craft, there are no functional consequences. This allows for something different to be explored – a new aesthetic or the reinterpretation of an existing one, creating a mood or feeling, creating something that allows us to look at an object in a new or different way.

How did you approach this project?

I selectively amplified three visual patterns: the Nguni cow hide pattern on a Zulu shield, oceanic flows and cloud formations. All of these patterns are the result of an original super-force (the universe as super-symmetry, before the big bang) that cracked instantly into the 'Known Universe'. As this universe came to be, its asymmetrical 'flaw' manifested itself in the patterns we see everywhere. For my contribution to Delft, the surfboard represents the original super-force — a symmetrical and unifying structure – now made and wielded by us, designed to dance over an asymmetrical force where waves rise and collapse, leaving behind infinite visual patterns like sea foam.

Richard Hart

Richard Hart

Michael McGarry

Michael McGarry

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Frances Goodman

Jonathan Barnbrook

Jonathan Barnbrook

Gustav Greffrath

Gustav Greffrath

Asha Zero

Asha Zero

Anton Kannemeyer

Anton Kannemeyer

Givan Lötz

Givan Lötz

Roelof Petrus Van Wyk

Roelof Van Wyk

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