September 23, 2008 - Arnolfini - On Purpose: Design Concepts and Mircea Cantor
September 23, 2008

On Purpose: Design Concepts and Mircea Cantor

Noam Toran, Object for Lonely Men, 2001.

On Purpose: Design Concepts
Saturday 13 September–Sunday 9 November 2008

Mircea Cantor
The Need for Uncertainty

Saturday 13 September–Sunday 9 November 2008

16 Narrow Quay
Bristol
BS1 4QA UK
T +44(0) 117 917 2300/ 01

www.arnolfini.org.uk
on-purpose.info

On Purpose: Design Concepts

Åbäke, Droog Design, Daniel Eatock, Electronest, Ann-Sofie Back, Will Holder, Peter Jensen, Onkar Kular & Noam Toran, Metahaven, Alex Rich, Savage, Yuri Suzuki.
Curated by Åbäke and Nav Haq

On Purpose: Design Concepts looks at conceptual design practices, and the questions of functionality and purpose. It will present interventions and work by a selection of the most interesting and ‘speculative’ designers today.

In recent years, the field of design has evolved significantly having embraced conceptualism and technology, and is now offering advanced parallel theoretical practices to contemporary art. Yet the renowned principle that has been given to design in order to differentiate it from contemporary art is still a point of contention – that it should have specific purpose. On Purpose looks to investigate this tension around this definition of design for an emerging generation; questioning the extent to which ‘purpose’ is actually its ultimate constraint.

Many of the designs presented elucidate on the kind of work design practitioners may develop when not strictly working to a client brief. The designs are relatively ‘anti-aesthetic’, experimenting with functionality as opposed to form, often allowing a discursivity to occur as part of the process. The search for a paradoxical relationship between function and non-function is also a characteristic of many of the designs in the exhibition, leading to items that possess either a removal of function, a synthesis of different functions, or a new function.

Focussing also on interventions within Arnolfini, some of which may become semi-permanent, On Purpose will also be used as an opportunity for designers to offer proposals for reshaping the existing infrastructure of Arnolfini. It will look at the public face of the institution – physical and virtual – and will aim to rethink it afresh.

On Purpose: Design Concepts is the second in the Concept Store series of projects at Arnolfini, exploring the realms of marketing, design and experience economy.

On Purpose: Design Concepts is supported by The Gane Charitable Trust, 375 and UK Trade and Investment.

Mircea Cantor
The Need for Uncertainty

A new installation by Mircea Cantor will be presented at Arnolfini elaborating on the theme of uncertainty, and addressing the notions of displacement through the transfiguration of everyday phenomena.

Following his exhibition at Modern Art Oxford earlier this year, the exhibition at Arnolfini will be a second stage to this project, with significant new components, including a large-scale traditional wooden gate seen in the Maramures region of Northern Romania. Coated in 24 carat gold leaf, the gate has been imposed with a DNA-strand motif symbolising an updated version of The Tree of Life, yet paradoxically certainty and control.

In his sculptural and installation work, Cantor reveals the power of the simple gesture to highlight the fragility of our convictions. An image of a carved wooden form wrapped around the trunk of a tree in a Transylvanian forest, and a flying carpet woven with motifs of angels and aeroplanes will be some of the elements used by Cantor to prompt reflections on worlds within worlds, and on freedom and its limitations.

Mircea Cantor lives and works in Paris and Cluj, Romania.

Mircea Cantor: The Need for Uncertainty is part of the series 3: 3 artists / 3 spaces / 3 years, a series of three artists’ commissions. Presented as a programme over three years, the series is being produced as a partnership between Modern Art Oxford, Arnolfini, Bristol and Camden Art Centre, London.

3: 3 artists / 3 spaces / 3 years is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London and the Ratiu foundation.

Arnolfini is open Tues – Sun, 10am – 6pm. Admission free.

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