Friedman Benda Benda announces the opening of Static, a group exhibition curated by Glenn Adamson, Senior Scholar, Yale Center for British Art on January 10, 2017. This will be the second in an annual series of guest-curated exhibitions by top figures in the design field. The aesthetic range of the works on view will span from the 1980s interest in chance operations and found object design to a more recent fascination with glitches, implosion, and the born-digital “new aesthetic.”
According to the theorists of the day, the 1980s was an era of comprehensive breakdown in established historical trajectories, a time of extreme proclamations. Postmodernism, time-space compression, the death of authorship, the destruction of grand narratives: all of these ideas rotated around a common feeling of rupture and disorientation.
The exhibition Static considers this moment in design history and its aftermath, up to and including the present. A selection of objects, dating from the 1980s to the present, will show how designers responded to the conception of style as a “broken signal.”
This is not an exhibition about postmodern quotation, but it does proceed from the assumption that the 1980s ushered in a sense of ahistorical synchronicity, a sense that is still with us (as in the recent show of paintings, Forever Now, at MoMA),” says Glenn Adamson. “Against this backdrop of stylistic paralysis or a-historicity, the emphasis is on designers who continue to find life and productive energy in the act of disruption, the use of the break as a generative design methodology.”
Adamson continues, “During this time frame, designers were still creating compelling objects and responded to the dense thicket of ideas around them, but often did so intuitively. In the process they gave form to an ill-defined period sensibility. In particular, designers contended with the idea that style had been hollowed out, somehow frozen, or cast into a state of rudderless drift. The postmodern tendency to raid the closet of history for ideas, to mix and match at will, was one response – and the most obvious. But the strongest designers of the era did more than quote. They saw that, while the linear progression of style may have been severed, the cutting of that cord was itself the act that held greatest aesthetic possibility.”
The exhibition includes works by Gunnar Anderson, Ron Arad, Andrea Branzi, Michele Oka Doner, April Greiman, Shiro Kuramata, Danny Lane, Wolfgang Laubersheimer, Howard Meister, Alessandro Mendini, Forrest Myers, Occhiomagico, Nathalie du Pasquier, Gaetano Pesce, Ettore Sottsass, and Tadanori Yokoo. Static visual effects and sound by Tim Pickerill.