The function vs non-function debate is one that I regularly battle with, as a designer my urge to make things structural and quite conformative is a very natural one, I like the idea of ordering disorder. But one thing I’ve been trying to do lately is to step outside this mindset and be more free and creative in other fields where it sees fit. Obviously, I’ll still have that element of functionality inside of me, but I think it’s good to let go in some respects and let other elements filter into your working methods.
So when I came across this recent exhibition that took place in Japan named ‘Function Dysfunction’ I had to showcase some photographs and a small introductory video. Plus, the artists who’re involved are some of my favourites at the moment, with a couple of them taking a few spots in the archive already. Alma Allen, Ani Kasten and Adam Silverman, all American artists with one thing in common, that they each run a practice where they make both functional and non-functional work, aka dysfunctional.
Run by Tomio Koyama Gallery in Kyoto, this group exhibition is a selection of sculptural works with Silverman and Kasten showing ceramics, while Allen showed wooden objects, bronze sculptures and bowls. As you can see in the images here there was a fantastic array of work presented and they all look exceptional in quality and form. What struck me was the natural shapes that are on show, many look like objects you would find on a mountain or in the land, mainly rocks and obscure shapes. I personally think Alma Allen is incredible at creating items of this type, the past sculpture page on his website for example is a perfect example of an inspiring mood board. I recommend having a scroll around now if you have a spare minute.
I think one of the most telling statements is towards the end when Adam Silverman is talking about all the creators involved, saying they’re “very very good craftsmen, designers and artists”. Because looking back at all the great designers they all have this trait, the experimentation in different fields, whether that be painting, sculpture, pottery, architecture, furniture design, everything is linked in some way or another.