Ron Arad - Design London Friday, June 19, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Barry Friedman Ltd., New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2006

  • Literature

    Ron Arad: The Dogs Barked, exh. cat., de Pury & Luxembourg, Zurich, 2006, n.p.
    Marie-Laure Jousset, Sir Christopher Frayling and Jonathan Safran Foer, et al., Ron Arad No Discipline, exh. cat., Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2008, p. 125

  • Catalogue Essay

    Phillips wishes to thank Caroline Thorman from Ron Arad Associates for her assistance cataloguing the present lot.

    In an interview with Interiors magazine, Ron Arad said, ‘I’m solving problems that don’t exist'. Throughout his career, Arad has proven this statement true by producing works that explore novel materials and forms in unprecedented ways and that, by extension, explore new ways of living. His designs are often solutions to the problems that we do not even know exist. The present lot interrogates this concern. The chair appears light and airy, as it is made from silicone with only an internal spiral-shaped steel beam supporting the structure, though it still maintains a sculptural presence. Incised on the steel skeleton is a quote originally uttered by French conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp: ‘Il n’y a pas de solution parce qu’il n’y a pas de problème’. The English translation (‘There is no solution because there is no problem’) echoes on the reverse. As an artist often working within the Dadaist tradition, Arad responds to this paradox through the present lot—both literally, with his allusion to Duchamp, and tacitly, by stretching the material possibilities of furniture making.

    Beginning in 2003, Arad created a range of futuristic rocking chairs, collectively known as the Voids, that all assume the same general form but vary in their patterns, textures, materials, proportions and colours. The present lot is an example of one of Arad’s Oh-Void chairs, the first subgroup within this larger category. Typical of Arad’s playful style, the Oh-Void title is a play on words. The chairs look like two ovoids joined together like an infinity symbol, and their form relies on voids in space or colour. Arad’s initial Oh-Void chairs were made with carbon fiber, but he later created limited edition chairs in steel, enameled aluminium, acrylic, Corian and, as seen in the present lot, silicone. The chair exists almost as a ghost of a chair; it is floating in space as a ‘void’. The chair’s existence seems nearly impossible, yet Arad has found a solution. Or has he? Perhaps that’s the point: the chair may be a solution to a problem that does not exist, but is it a solution if the problem did not exist in the first place? Duchamp might say so. But Duchamp also said, ‘I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste’, so maybe it is just a matter of perspective.

  • 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.

    View More Works

Property from an Important American Collection


'No Solution No Problem'

Silicone, steel.
65.5 x 59 x 115.5 cm (25 3/4 x 23 1/4 x 45 1/2 in.)
Produced by The Gallery Mourmans, Maastricht, the Netherlands. From the edition of 6 plus 2 artist's proofs.

£20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for £23,750

Contact Specialist

Madalena Horta E Costa
Head of Sale, Associate Specialist
+44 20 7318 4019


London Auction 19 June 2020