Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea 1 April 1 July
Reviewed by: jennie savage »
'Lateral Design in the City', curated by Ralph Turner is part of a series of exhibitions at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. The aim of the series is to expose an exciting and vibrant mix of concerns running through contemporary design, and to highlight the energy of young designers working across the globe. Many of the design works in the exhibition originated from the Crafts Council's 'Industry of One' exhibition.
The work produced the same feeling of calm as walking into any minimal furniture shop and, looking around, it was clear that these were consumer items. On closer inspection however, the work presented a far more quirky and idiosyncratic approach to both design and use of objects in space.
The title of the show was indicative of a far more holistic approach to objects; the way that we use them and how they alter our use of space. The sense of the city was present, not so much in the objects but in the inference of how the body relates to our space, and how in turn these objects slot into our daily lives and become part of the space. Addressing notions of functionalism, ecology and the use of the city in a playful manner, not only worked as object but also drew the viewer/consumer into a conversation about the use of the object and the development of its nature. This combined minimal aesthetic with no-frills packaging made the viewer warm to a subtle humour that runs throughout much of the work.
The objects were very much of the city and in many ways took on the personality of city life, injecting an energy into the everyday object and inviting us to look at the banal in a new and, in some ways, politicised light. Much of the work did address ideas about re-use and recycling or simply re-evaluating what we use and throw away. Jhan Stanley has taken plastic cups and throwaway plates, dented and pre-used. They have then been cast to make uneven and beautiful tableware. The same cups have also been used by Rainer Spehl, this time however they are blown up to make full-size tables. By re-using and re-addressing the everyday in this way the designers suggest a new conscience about the industry in which they are involved.
The London-based group, El Ultimo Gritto exhibited a set of work that was not only humorous but tapped into the energy of the city and the use of spaces. The Good Morning Coat Rack gives you the opportunity to recycle your old magazines by rolling them up to form the hooks for your coat. This design is small and neat and will obviously save you space by homing some of those old periodicals. This work epitomised the idea of objects as both stylish and utilitarian: the kind of things that reflect your house as an installation of the self and yet become part of your routine.
Jennie Savage is based in Cardiff & has a collaborative art practice that seeks to mediate perceptions of place through the creation social situations/ sound pieces and sonic archives. Her projects focus on the relationship between architecture/ town planning/ mapping & human narrative. Writing interests include looking at the city/ place/ travel/ location/ movement/ mapping/ museums & taxonomy/ diversity and social spaces... + reviews.
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