De Apotheek and Shifting Class Showroom, 2018

Installation consisting 14 solid hand carved Bubinga handles and a horse jumping obstacle.

In Bufferzone Alban Karsten and Kitty Maria created various handles from forbidden woods. Sculptures are made of CITES listed illegal hardwoods – with their composite density some of the hardest types of woods to demolish. Because of their forbidden status the wood is only sold in very small very highly priced leftover batches, making the already luxury good even more exuberant.

The handles are made of Bubinga, grown in West-Africa but near to extinction because of Chinese interest. Bubinga – resembling Palissander – was taken up by the Chinese market to substitute the already extinct Red Sandalwood they used for furniture made accordingly to the Ming Dynasty (rose-coloured / dense enough to be jointed without screws). The rising middle-class of China, all wanting a piece of their heritage, make for a growing demand incompatible with natural hardwood forestations.

For this show a slab of Bubinga is sculpted into several handles, the very practical component with which to animate an object, but also the trophy part of a tool. The handles are attached to the walls as done with hunting souvenirs, but on hiphight, making the visitors stand in line facing the wall. In the middle a white horse-jumping obstacle is constructed as a pedestal for the handles. Their different shapes invite different approaches and attitudes to be held, spiking different associations on the character and malignancy of the missing tool. Bufferzone draws on the creation of desire through exclusivity and having parts missing.

Made possible with the kind support of De Apotheek. In collaboration with Kitty Maria.

Materials: Bubinga (forbidden wood), pine railing, handrail holders, mdf, cake, heavy duty transport cases, plants.

Special thanks to: Tom Kemp, Monica Mays, Olga Micińska and hand model Andrea Lopez Bernal.