Belgian architect-artist

Koen Deprez

1988

Ethnic Table

Built on the basic principles of Table pratique, and involving a similar, uncorrupted landscape of rock formations, Ethnic Table is an exploration of human cooperation and versatility. The point at issue here is not the question of how to make a table, but why it is made, and by whom. In theory, almost anyone can mark three or four arbitrary points in space and connect them in such a way that a flat surface is created. There are no pre-existing requirements, neither concerning the length of the table, nor in terms of the maker's cultural background.
With this work, Deprez denounces the standardised human measurements used by modernist architects in their building practices. The mathematical proportional system devised by Le Corbusier (1887-1965) known as 'Modulor', itself a development in the long tradition that began with Leonardo's Vitruvian Man, suggests a belief in a universal architectural program designed for the 'model man'. Agitated by this essentialist attitude, Deprez reflects on the notion of the 'user', an idea that emerged in architectural discourse towards the end of the 1960s. In Ethnic Table, the user is no longer the product of functionalist thought or an abstract concept – a universal man – but a living individual made of flesh and blood.

Collage, 30 x 30 x 6 cm

Collage, 30 x 30 x 6 cm