CURATED BY BÁRBARA COUTINHO
In 1958, Bruno Munari gives life to a fork, suggesting emotions, attitudes and moods. Sixteen years later, Alessandro Mendini sets fire to a chair placed on a pedestal, questioning the chair archetype. Nowadays, the nature of common objects and the way we relate to them is in deep change resulting in the split between meanings, formats and usefulness.
"Design is Dead. Long Live Design!" presents a selection of pieces from MUDE – Museu do Design e da Moda, Colecção Francisco Capelo with the aim of contributing to the topic under discussion at the Biennale EXD’11 and also developing the study, promotion and internationalization of the museum’s collection. This exhibition focuses on the Post-modernist period, which dissociates function from form, and the subsequent scrutiny identity, nature and boundaries of the discipline of Design. On debate is the notion of object – value, symbol, representation, language and aesthetics.
Since 1980, the heirs of Anti-Design and Radical Design groups – who since the end of the sixties criticized the Rationalist idea of Design for its complicity with the system of production – went deeper on a research that questions the definition of Design and its heritage, opening a path that leads to the present.
We talk about authors such as Gaetano Pesce, Ettore Sottsass, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Martin Margiela, Walter Van Beirendonck, Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi, Peter van der Jagt, Philippe Starck, Danny Lane, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake and Rody Graumans... or about works that underline form or move away from the simple provocation requiring an exercise of decoding while creating an emotional relationship with the user, extolling its expressive, political, poetic and ironic values. Escaping from any categorization and defying the traditional boundaries between design, architecture and art, under the influence sphere of conceptual research led by Marcel Duchamp, Richard Artschwager, Donald Judd, Andy Warhol or Joseph Kosuth.
The functionalist paradigm is proclaimed dead and experimentation, reinvention and conceptual research are exalted. We are seeing a reflection on the object itself and its usefulness, the cultural heritage of Design, image and value, relationship with the economic and productive system, nature of representation/meaning and its relationship with the word/concept. In result, Design is living a period of large creativity, becoming increasingly more diverse, lively, active and inclusive.