19 April 2010

When is a chair not a chair?

Oh, Ron Arad, you are a star! Whiling away an hour or two before seeing Laurie Anderson at the Barbican, I was unsure what to expect of Mr Arad's exhibition, Restless. Simultaneously labelled as an architect, product designer, furniture maker and more, I wasn't wholly confident in how appealing his show would be. I should have had more faith. It was an absolute joy - full of cheek, humour, beauty, reverence, irreverence ... even some lostings and foundings (see earlier blog). The icing on the cake was that we got to see the man himself. As I was ooh-ing and ah-ing over Looming Lloyd and my favourite piece of the show, The Quick Fox And The Lazy Dog, along skipped (literally) Mr Arad, a beaming smile on his face as he ran to check on the progress of the moss and lichen in his typewriter/chair. Resembling a cross between Willy Wonka and The Mad Hatter, and delightfully animated, he came to life as he saw his work, in much the same way as children do when they see their mothers waiting in the school playground. Although surrounded by "please do not touch the exhibits" signs, I got the feeling that as soon as he knew no staff were watching, he would get a cheeky glint in his eye, and encourage all who were there to take their pick and have a seat.

Looming Lloyd (1989), Ron Arad

The Quick Fox and The Lazy Dog (1989), Ron Arad

It's been a busy couple of weeks exhibition wise - both 'Quilts' and 'Decode' at the V&A, 'The Honey Bee and the Hive' at the CAA, Tracey Emin & co at the Foundling Museum and Ian Penney at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, but Ron Arad's Restless at the Barbican, London was the clear winner. Thank you Mr Arad - I'm now off in search of my own skip and cheeky glint!

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