Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Domestic Artifact (I)

"Art is useless; furniture is useful. This statement is a large enough 'basket' to contain the issue .... useless says it all"

At first glance, Richard Artschwager's pronouncement implies that he is solidly in agreement with Judd's segregation of art an design. However, as his work demonstrates, Artschwager is far more interested in the ambiguous, almost arbitrary, names and meanings we give objects, and how we see and interact with them in different contexts, than he creating strict categories.

In 2004 I visited Donald Judd's exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. Perhaps this was one of my main introductory shows to Minimal and Conceptual Art. A year after, whilst I was trying to decide what book to buy in an old second hand bookshop in Greenwich, the name of Artschwager came to my hands for first time. Since then, I have always been a constant admirer of his work. Artschwager's project "Time Box closed and sealed 25 years ago" is both fascinating and extraordinary.

shadow hitting another object on a brick painted wall

Regardless to
Artschwager's minimal pieces, I've to admit I love coffee. I love the strong taste of black coffee, without milk or sugar; just plain, natural, with a distinctive essence and pure aroma. It is said that coffee fanatics are never satisfied, always looking for that perfect taste. My regular drink is espresso, which in certain way, it can become almost an obsession, as the route of looking for that thick texture and real flavor can became endless.

Someone who knows my attraction for this substance has recently bought me a very particular object designed in 1998 by Aldo Rossi (an architect behind some of the most representative objects of the 1980s)
. It is simply, a good piece of design. It is also minimal, which makes me think on Artschwager's conception on designing contemporary objects.

La Cupola, designed in 1988 by Aldo Rossi for Alessi

The domestic artifact is also known as La Cupola and it has became an essential tool for keeping me awake during long nights of work in studio. I confess coffee and radio are my two most loved items when I work on my own.

A few weeks ago, after having it all day and night on my desk, I decided to take a series of shots which could express some of my favorite areas. I have to recongise that was a serious consequence of sleep deprivation. Clearly inspired by an excess of caffeine and in need of a break from tracing endless lines on my computer.

Except the handles, the rest of the artifact is made of high-quality aluminum, a material that has excellent heat conducting properties. Built on a nice form, shape and volume, in terms of scale, the coffee maker is 180mm
height and has a diameter of 70mm.

The most important: it has a capacity of 70 cl (approx. for three cups of coffee) -a production, which being loyal to my fascination for
Artschwager's simplicity principles, I always tend to pull in one...