Ron Arad - Design New York Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Friedman Benda, New York

  • Literature

    Ron Arad: The Dogs Barked, exh. cat., de Pury & Luxembourg, Zürich, 2007, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I’m solving problems that don’t exist,” Ron Arad stated in a recent interview (Interiors, April 2008). Or rather, he’s not solving. “There is no solution because there is no problem.” And so the riddle: how to design in a world full of design? Even Arad admits we don’t need more chairs. The Greeks hammered out that problem three thousand years ago. If the klismos was good enough for Athens, it’s good enough for us. But we’ll never cease wanting, or building. A solution represents termination, a breach of continuity—full stop. Let’s not.
    The steel skeleton of this prototype “Oh-Void” approximates a running spiral: it winds, unwinds, winds again. In geometry a spiral is an open curve constantly receding from or approaching a fixed point; it never ends. But the chair’s outer silicone structure comprises two ellipses. An ellipse is a closed curve; it never begins. Those pesky contradictions circle back.
    On one side of the skeleton, Arad incised Marcel Duchamp’s famous riddle: “Il n’y a pas de solution parce qu’il n’ya pas de problème.” Its English translation echoes on the reverse. Perhaps Arad (and Duchamp before him) read Wittgenstein: “For an answer which cannot be expressed, the question too cannot be expressed.” Which way out of this maze? The answer is clear, we need only express it: design, like language, is embedded in our lives. No problem with that.

  • Artist Biography

    Ron Arad

    Israeli • 1951

    Ron Arad's work and career is characterized by his movement between modes and constant experimentation. Arad was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1951 and studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Art before moving to London in 1973. He began his practice in London in the early 1980s and set up One Off Ltd, focused on limited edition objects, with his partner Caroline Thorman. A decade later he had moved to industrial production techniques and collaborations with large design firms such as Vitra and Kartell.

    A persistent theme throughout his work is innovation and the idea of the "new." Still producing work today, Arad uses the latest technology to produce his designs and also integrates it within his pieces, such as his Lolita Chandelier (2004) that can receive and display text messages. Arad also continually experiments with materials and has an exceptional skill to coax volume and undulation out of them, with a particular affinity for metal. His works such as The Big Easy chair (1988) walk the line between design and sculpture. Once an outsider, Arad's relentless energy to design, build and collaborate has placed him firmly within the highest ranks of the design world.

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Prototype "Oh-Void (No Solution No Problem)" chair

Silicone, steel. 
26 1/2 in. (67.3 cm.) high
Produced by The Gallery Mourmans, The Netherlands.  Prototype from an edition of six.

$175,000 - 225,000 


17 Dec 2008 2pm
New York