Fifteen years ago, Sebastian Errazuriz was walking through his native Santiago, Chile, scoping sites for a public art project, when he came upon a rundown taxidermy museum that was going out of business. The owner had been clearing the space and piling the unwanted animals, mostly birds and reptiles, along the sidewalk for the dumpster. Among them was a large, white goose. The 21-year-old design student knelt down for a closer look. The bird smelled. Its neck was broken, its head flopped to one side, and its chest puffed, rigid and unmoving. Errazuriz thought it was “disgusting, awkward, and morbid.” Yet somehow, he says, it seemed funny? Weirdly elegant, even. Darkly cute?
Errazuriz had been struggling to find confidence in his ideas, and here he found a concept he loved. He plucked the goose from the pile and told the museum owner he’d be back with an idea and a blueprint.
This past September, Carnegie Museum of Art debuted Sebastian Errazuriz: Look Again, the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work. Since moving to New York City in 2006, art fairs including Art Basel and Design Miami have given his ideas an international platform. His work has been auctioned at Sotheby’s. He was named Chilean Designer of the Year. Now, through installation art, sculpture, conceptual furniture, and fashion, Look Again explores Errazuriz’s most pervasive theme to date: the unavoidable brevity of life. Among the earliest works in the show is Duck Lamp, made in 2004.