Gspusi (/ˈkʃpuːzi/) is a lavender design collaboration between artists Corsin Billeter and Leon Pozniakow. Favoring oddities, anachronisms and flamboyance, Gspusi creates tender and sincerely ostentatious luxury objects. With ideas plucked from an orchard of eccentric fruits, Gspusi is the synthesis of the mundane and the extravagant.
Gspusi n. (colloquial)
1. (semi-secret) romantic relationship, affair
2. lover
Interview with Gspusi, April 2024

How did your collaboration begin? How does your work together relate to your individual practices?

Leon Pozniakow: The collaboration began when we made a piece of work together for a two-person show in 2022. The piece was called “Talking to Ourselves and Other Faggots” and was a handmade gold-plated jewelry chain, but already our practices and technologies were quite aligned.

Corsin Billeter: And we have always had a lot of dialogue.

LP: Yeah, we had a lot of dialogue, and I suppose for the duo show we had to bring our separate identities together and arrange them. For the collaborative piece itself we had to leave our own practices aside and create a new piece of work that neither of us would have made without each other’s interventions or influence.

CB: It was fun, and we wanted to continue it, so it was just about finding a mode that we could do that in, or an outlet that we could collaborate for, because I think we still have very distinct practices that we didn’t want to merge.

LP: I also think that Corsin is very stylish and interested in design and that world, and for me it’s more accidental. It was a really exciting prospect to take my more organic ideas and respond to Corsin’s more referential and critical ideas.

CB: I think also it being a design collaboration rather than a ‘fine arts’ collaboration, there is a different way of working, as functionality plays a much larger role, and that’s interesting as an addition to our individual practices.

LP: I suppose GSPUSI, our collaborative designs, create a space where we can make work that is unencumbered with the usual expectations.

CB: A lot of the materials I work with find a lot of use in functional design anyway, like metals, glass and enamel, so that kind of play between my practice and our collaboration feels really natural. Collaboration in itself is something that I’m interested in; friendships and relationships play a big role in my practice. Our name, GSPUSI, plays with that notion as well. Gspusi is a dialect German term for a love affair or a lover, usually casual and friendly.

LP: A primary element of the mirror is its gilded surface. When we were working on our show together, my piece “You’re” was a window in the gallery that I had gilded, so that it performed as a golden mirror.

You draw a lot of inspiration from queer histories and classical aesthetics. How do those interests influence your wide-ranging choices of media or materials? Do you think about the viewer when making those decisions, or does that not come into play?

LP: We gave ourselves certain instructions about what we were going to make, as soon as you do that then of course you have things that are natural to you. Things that are interesting to you. Through looking at ancient Greek drinking vessels I came across examples of Gorgoneion tondos that commonly decorated the bottom of ceremonial wine cups, the Kylix. Although an image of a monster, the face is cute with loving eyes and a goofy smile. There’s a dichotomy there we find exciting.

CB: In terms of queer histories, for me, it is essentially impossible to even think about visual culture without thinking about queer histories, as a lot of my inspirations throughout pretty much all of the centuries were made by people we would now put under a “queer” label.

LP: On a low culture level, there are elements of the materiality within our work together which for me are absolutely an expression of being part of queerness and queer history, the idea of golden glass as a reflective surface bathing you in light creates these aspirational zones, not entirely exclusive to queerness. But I think about drag and how it is about illusion. Not just gender illusion, it’s about the illusion of grandeur and saying ‘My talent has given you, the viewer, this spectacle of grandeur.’

CB: It’s also about elevating things, quite simple things, and quite mundane things into something really spectacular.

LP: This mirror could be made out of gold, but it is not, and it is important that it is not. When I travel on the underground in London and I walk the stairs of a station, there is a diamond engraved step lip on every stair and it’s the most incredible colour, this bright, gleaming, yellow and white. It is brass that has been polished by infinite soles of commuter’s feet. It’s a truly beautiful material, it’s spectacular.

CB: Especially within design I do think about the viewer, or rather the user, because it needs to be functional and it needs to be accessible.

LP: In our brand identity we focus on eccentricity and extravagance but also functionality. On a physical, ergonomic level we are assessing the objects we make constantly, to make sure that it has a unique, comfortable and unproblematic relationship to the body.

Your Breakfasting Mirror is the first object of an ongoing design series you’ve been thinking about for some time. Can you tell us more about where this concept comes from, and the plans you have for the series?

LP: The series is called the AM Suite and the first object in the suite is our Breakfasting Mirror. Initially we thought about the breakfasting table, right?

CB: Yeah, we wanted to make homeware and we wanted to make a cohesive first collection and I think there’s a few reasons why breakfast resonated with us. Going back to the idea of queerness, brunch is an element or a trope in contemporary queer culture.

LP: Brunch is a big thing, but how often do either of us have brunch? Never. We’re always either in this studio or at work. And again, it is this drag idea, you petition the universe, you manifest what you want from the world and from your life. I guess in my secret heart of hearts, I want to be meeting some friends at 11:30 am at a table populated with the most particular and beautiful objects. Objects that are as particular and beautiful as the company one keeps.

CB: It is also intriguing because breakfast is not often the meal where you would have the most glamorous tableware, that’s usually reserved for a lunch or a dinner, and there’s something interesting about it being for, what tends to be, the most private meal of the day.

LP: The next element in the AM Suite will be a demitasse with saucer and spoon, the Strawbebbies Express. That piece will take us firmly back into a more expected element for tableware.

CB: The glazing is going to go into a more baroque feel as well, but the drawing might have a more art deco influence.

LP: You can expect an espresso set as the next release consisting of a ceramic cup, a kiln-formed glass saucer and a brass spoon.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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