|Creators:||Ball, Ralph and Naylor, Maxine|
Ralph Ball and Maxine Naylor's latest exhibition at La Sala Vincon, Barcelona, extends the visual vocabulary explored in their book Form Follows Idea. Ball and Naylor use design to communicate ideas about design itself and the strategic potential of the design process in understanding issues that are pertinent to society today. In Indeterminate Cases ordinary, everyday chairs are reconfigured to ask questions about our relationship to utility, familiarity, obsolescence, sustainability and value.
The exhibition presents two new collections of their work; 'Chair Anatomy;' a series of stacking/linking constructions & 'Chair Archive;' a group of encased, previously discarded chairs, ambiguously inter-playing container and content
In the preface to Form Follows Idea Jeremy Myerson writes "Not for nothing are Maxine Naylor and Ralph Ball widely regarded as among Britain's most thoughtful furniture designers." They have been slowly and carefully generating the intellectual impetus to carry their study of the meaning of objects into the territory where design meets art. Practical philosophy could be one way to describe their approach. In a world of increasingly strident contextual debate about design, in which the narrative is mainly generated and sustained by external commentators, Ball and Naylor reclaim the role for practising designers. They do this by embedding the narrative in the object itself: chairs and lights, for example, go beyond their function or even their symbolism to playfully reflect on a cultural meaning. You don’t develop this strategy overnight. Ball and Naylor have been edging this way gradually, using their fascination with the Modern Movement to question in a gentle, enigmatic but ultimately confrontational way what modern design really means.
Ball and Naylor say of their work:
"It is important to re-establish visual contemplation and communication: to put the brakes on unreflective proliferation and superficial replication. It is time to provide critical, ironic and playful commentary on our condition and our cultures of consumption of both material and information. Itís time to value what we have, to reject superficiality and to play seriously. It is time to put meaning and content back into design. We are interested in finding forms of expression where structure and material resolution are taken as given and the designed object as cultural information can be contemplated. Our work now focusses on reconnecting and building authentic, narrative layers of meaning back into objects that have lost meaningful significance, rationale and value under the shear proliferation of inferior copies. Today production belongs to everyone with a computer. Speed, quantity and the seductive power of production have become ends rather than means. Meaning has disappeared as method over-takes."
Ordinary, everyday chairs were reconfigured to ask questions about our relationship to utility, familiarity, obsolescence, sustainability and value. Chair re-constructions using a standard injection molded plastic shell chair mounted on steel frame.
A common and universally familiar chair type found everywhere. Cross-section cuts and reassemblies re-present in poetic visual narrative the utility of the generic stacking and linking function.
Discarded chairs were partially encased and represented to ask questions about our relationship to
The framing follows to varying degrees the rudimentary contours of each chair. Each object draws attention to both the basic underlying form and the unique patina of each particular chair. The paradoxical uniqueness of the mass produced object is preserved and celebrated.
|Type of Research:||Show/Exhibition|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
I define my research activity as critical design practice. My research draws on rhetorical themes and axioms specific to Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary design. This research is articulated through the generation and realisation of artifacts, which investigate, illuminate and question design culture. I call this activity 'Design Poetics.' Design Poetics forms an experimental, continuously evolving series of objects and collections, which act as commentaries and contemplations on the culture of Modernism, Postmodernism and contemporary design. The work specifically rejects the discrete distinctions of Art, Craft and Design. It explores the conceptual, provocative and lyrical possibilities of the spaces in between. Drawing on rhetorical themes and axioms specific to Modernism and design culture (Form follows Function, Less is More, Decoration and Crime, Transparency, Multi-function etc) object typologies and generic forms characteristic of the modern furniture/lighting genre are re-examined. These rational and reductive axioms are co-opted to endorse paradox and legitimize the invention of formal incongruities, rational irrationalities or poetic transgressions. Ironic iconics: the pieces are self consciously introspective and are made to reflect upon themselves and the culture that supports them.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||RPE|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design|
|Date:||16 October 2008|
|Locations / Venues:|
|Deposited By:||Ralph Ball|
|Deposited On:||08 Jul 2010 10:34|
|Last Modified:||01 Apr 2014 10:35|