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London’s exciting new art gallery concept Secteur Privé presents Where Do I Begin, an exhibition of mystical sculptures by Mark Brazier-Jones 

An enigmatic new gallery concept has arrived on the London art scene. Established by Ayman Daouk, Secteur Privé will host seasonal exhibitions and pop-up showcases globally from conceptual private spaces. Offering emerging and established artists and designers the opportunity to showcase their works, Secteur Privé will eschew the impersonal aesthetic of the typical ‘white cube gallery’ experience. Their “living spaces” ethos offers a more open and intimate experience, so art lovers are afforded different ways of engaging with the work. 

Kissing Chair by Mark Brazier-Jones

For their inaugural show Secteur Privé present the work of Mark Brazier-Jones, the renowned designer and artist who created the Tally Ho chair and several pieces of furniture for Sam Taylor Wood’s Shades of Grey. Not only did Mark Brazier-Jones design Christian Grey’s seduction suite, the Red Room in the movie, the film also features five of the furniture designs in the arch seducer’s playroom. The chair was covered by Gwyneth Paltrow for Goop Holiday Guide last December as the perfect Christmas gift.

For his recent show, Where Do I Begin, his subject matter aims to connect more to divine rather than earthly pleasures. Where Do I Begin, is an exhibition of new mystical sculptural pieces, reflecting the artists’ belief in in the alchemical power of art to transform the everyday. Embellished with crystals, esoteric symbolism and sacred geometry, the talismanic works have been crafted to bring the viewer into an increased state of enlightenment.

Transdimensional Barby
Bronze, calcium carbonate, gold leaf. 67 x 20 x 20 cm

His new pieces are entitled Manifesting Machines, sculptures which channel the energies of the natural world. Designed as esoteric objects for deeper meditation and spiritual exploration, Brazier-Jones has applied his knowledge of hermetic principles, creating art that is true to his authentic self. 

In transcribing his holistic understanding and practices to his art, Brazier-Jones registers Where do I Beginas a pivotal moment in his personal and creative journey. He has created esoteric chimes that reproduce the 528 hertz frequency, that he calls, ‘Ding Dings’, for use around the home. “I also have ‘Ding Dings’ around the house and in the garden,” he says. “It is easy whenever passing to simply strike the chime and receive the benefit. It is like a reboot button to recentre oneself.” Each Manifesting Machine has been crafted according to a vibrational resonance, serving a practical purpose for spiritual or meditational practice as well as functioning as sculptural artefacts. 

Seven Eye Totem, Oak, calcium carbonate, gold leaf 60 x 40 x 20cm
Arrowback Chair, Bronze, upholstery 100 x 60 x 60 cm

In addition to showcasing these spiritually-charged sculptures, Secteur Privé will also feature pre-existing decorative works. In the last four decades, the artist has won acclaim for his provocative chandeliers and chairs to other ornate furnishings that draw on Art Nouveau, baroque and Rococo design. He has amassed a star-studded clientele that includes actors, art collectors and rock music royalty. 

His work features in seminal museum collections around the world, Victoria & Albert in London, Museum of Art & Design in New York and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, as well as many important private collections. Signature works including his lush green Tally Ho chair and several other items of furniture appear in 50 Shades of Grey.

Brazier-Jones spent his formative years in Auckland and the idyllic north islands of New Zealand. He would rarely wear shoes and spent the majority of his childhood exploring nature with his botanist mother and English painter father.

Love Light Sculpture
Gold leaf, calcium, carbonate, selenite, steel (G9 lightbulb). 50 x 30 x 20 cm

In the mid-70s aged 12, Brazier-Jones’ bucolic childhood was interrupted by a move to England. From New Zealand’s bohemia, beaches and forests to a cramped bedsit in Streatham, his parents became teachers and the family later moved to Enfield. To escape the city and get their fix of the natural world, they would take frequent escapes to Wales. “It was the closest thing we had to New Zealand”, he considers. “I think that during that time, we visited every single stone circle in the country”, he says, of the visits that ignited a lifelong fascination with sacred monoliths and landscapes – and the esoteric practices which influence the current works.

After completing school, Brazier-Jones studied a BA degree in Sculpture and Ceramics at Hornsey Art College. Following his graduation, he was offered employment in set design by a friend. They formed a successful production company and spent the next seven years creating sets for music videos for a variety of major artists including David Bowie, Elton John, Kate Bush, Spandau Ballet and Queen. 

While continuing to make pop videos in 1983, Brazier-Jones met the talented twentysomethings who would become household names in British design, Nick Jones, Tom Dixon and later, André Dubreuil. Joining forces with Jones, Dixon in ‘creative salvage’, they established a collective that had two main purposes: building functional art from existing objects and welded metals – and organising illegal warehouse parties and pop-up clubs in Notting Hill Gate.

For the club nights that were a prototype of the rave culture that would follow a few years later, Nick Jones would delegate creative responsibilities to committee members on clothing, lighting, production and thematic execution. Tom Dixon would create flyers from old magazines and newspapers and send them out the day before the event took place. Meanwhile, Brazier-Jones theatrics would involve chopping-up cars with angle grinders to stage as props as well as perform the process for the guest as a visual performance piece. 

“The music was all about mixing and the whole production, about cutting and pasting. We would make ridiculous things overnight and weld them together. We were just three lads having a great time”, he recalls. “My sister-in-law had an empty shop so we did some pop-up shows of one-off furniture and artefacts welded up out of scrap and it sold?” Later, they met André Dubreuil, who – with his knowledge of antiques – brought increased credibility to the group. Mark packed-in the set design for pop videos and moved into a studio with Dubreuil for a year, moving away from scrap as his medium to become a metalware craftsman. 

The group would go their separate ways to find global success and recognition, Brazier-Jones would spend the next four decades becoming an internationally celebrated furniture, lighting designer and sculptor. 

As the artworks in Where do I Begin are redolent of the sacred spaces of New Zealand, the stone circles of Wales – with research and planning played their part, Brazier-Jones concurs that it was his sub-conscious that truly powered the pieces. Employing a mystical fusion of bronze, crystals, sumptuous fabrics, and other noble materials, his creations transcend mere craftsmanship, the design narrative unfurls a rich tapestry of mystical and archetypal imagery. 

“While I crafted them according to my biographical journey and design practice, the pieces came from my sub-conscious. I feel like I am a conduit for the magic and that my higher self is guiding my hand. I’m back at the stone circle.”

Where Do I Begin will run from 29 November – 22 January at Secteur Privé www.secteurprive.co

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).