there he was last tuesday, in his trademark cap, beard and loping gait, looking every bit like the ludicrously priced limited edition action man doll ron arad on sale in the gift shop. the doll was being sold alongside those miniature design classic chairs, at the opening of his new exhibition at the barbican. he looked pleased with himself.
ron arad: restless is the first large scale retrospective exhibition of his work in the uk, and should not be missed. by anyone. it’s absolutely delightful. arad’s studio has been at pains to present the work with exquisite lighting, and many of the pieces have been mechanised to show the movement which is an intrinsic part of their design.
the careful low key and spot lighting does have a tendency to evoke an upmarket furniture showroom and may prompt the visitor to question what it is that is being appreciated here. if, as walter pater said, all art aspires to the condition of music, what we seem to have here is design — furniture — which aspires to the condition of art. but in the cavernous precincts of the barbican, it looks more and more like art aspiring to the condition of furniture.
ron arad: restless, 18 february – 16 may 2010, is curated by lydia yee, curator, barbican art gallery
here are some pics from the opening: