restless ron

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:

 

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