Posted on 8/15/2013 8:54 PM by Grace Jeffers

There is something about a wrapped up thing that delights us. Whether it is the wrapping paper on a present or artwork by that master of large scale wrapping Christo, we enjoy the bound surface and wonder what lies beneath.

At the ICFF this year, I was delighted to discover the work of a Cranbrook Academy of Art student named Jae Sae Jung Oh, who transforms forms by wrapping them in jute twine or leather cord. The surface becomes a lush undulating, monochromatic landscape. Her Savage chair is a mish-mash of objects assembled into a large club chair form, and then lovingly tamed into elegance by the obsessive covering of jute twine. I especially loved the seams where the sting would make a sharp bend.

Jae Sae Jung Oh's Savage chair, with a close-up of the surface texture

Her work reminded me of the work of Christian Astuguevielle, who I first encountered at the Holly Hunt showroom almost twenty years ago. The sculptural aesthetics of Astugueveille’s work share more with Americana tramp art and traditional African sculpture than Oh’s work, which is definitely rooted in contemporary assemblage. But the transformation of surfaces by encrusting them with wrapping comes from the same place.

Christian Astuguevielle's work at the 'astuguevieille à sèvres' exhbition at cité de la céramique in Paris. Photos courtesy of designboom.