CURATED BY EXPERIMENTADESIGN
On the occasion of EXD’11 and as part of the curatorial direction of Palácio Quintela, experimentadesign inaugurates “Don’t Look Back”. This programme series celebrates and offers an in-depth approach to the work of some of the most important contemporary Portuguese designers.
“Fernando Brízio: Inhabited Designs” constitutes the first retrospective of one of the foremost Portuguese designers of today. His consistent and consciously crafted production, exhibited and published both nationally and internationally, hinges upon the challenging relationship between object and user, and the creation of multi-dimensional projects that evoke several functions and readings. This exhibition provides an intimate and unconventional look at this designer. Encompassing the entire period of his professional activity since 1993, it presents several projects in different stages of development and their respective creative processes, but also biographical notes, documentary interviews (conducted by his daughter, director Salomé Lamas), films that inspire him and books. Thus, the exhibition features multiple formats such as animations, original drawings, catalogues, photographs, models, and, of course, objects. It also incorporates video content and texts by experts from different areas.
Constituting a milestone in his career, it portrays in the scope of the exhibition venue, a space and time that are as vast as they are complex. The space is the studio: lab, storage room, archive, testing ground and work habitat that will be brought to the Antigo Convento da Trindade, with its collected objects, molds and drawings, as well as the byproducts and accidents of design activity. This perspective reinforces the importance of process and material exploration, of which the object is an outcome but not the ultimate validation.
Similarly, the exhibition spans a broad spectrum of time, bringing together objects that never coexisted before, such as college projects, pieces for group art exhibitions, one-offs never shown before, set and exhibition designs, brand-new, unreleased projects in their final stages of completion and pieces purposedly developed for this exhibition.
The polysemy of Fernando Brízio’s work translates into a conceptual wealth that accompanies his practice from the initial stage of drawing – a fundamental design tool practice and, for Brízio, a transformative practice that affects not just reality but also the individual engaged in it. Fully aware of the designer’s role as the maker of an artificial world inhabited by human beings, Brízio crafts objects as “support media for relationships” through which we experience reality. This sensitive intuitition informs projects where wit, subjectivity and emotion are met by a keen understanding of how objects and users work within a context that is not merely physical, but also socio-cultural, political and economic.
The projects materialize through a process of cumulative value and meaning. The designer conducts a dialogue with the materials and the opportunities arising from them, the craftsmen with whom he engages, the specific circumstances of his work places. This is the richly interwoven backdrop for Fernando Brízio’s production and its immense potential to configure the designed world we inhabit and which, in turn, shapes our gestures, the way we look at things, our experience and knowledge.
Integrated in the Palácio Quintela programme.