Alois Martin Müller, published in: form 241/2011, p. 110.
The publication “lt’s Not a Garden Table” is the product of a symposium jointly held by the Institute for Critical Theory (ITH) of Zurich University of the Arts and migros museum für gegenwartskunst back in 2009. It conlemplates the reciprocal effects between art and design in an expanded context, as is indicated by the book ‘s subtitle. The design section has been expanded by “critical practices” as described by Fiona Raby and Anthony Dunne`s “Critical Design,” which embeds self-critical moments in the object itself, as it were, while the art section has been expanded by Alex Cole’s eponymous publication ”ArtDesígn,” which concerns s itself with different positions within an art context that relate specifically to design. However, the two fields are not expected to merge, rather it describes how each sphere can use the others strategic polential to its advantage in the promotion of deeper insigths.
The volume is subdivided into three sections: “Distinction,” “Participation”
and an in-between section entitled “Production,” which presents interviews with designers (Jurgen Bey, Jerszy Seymor; Martino Gamper; Sofia Lagerkvist, among others) and artists (such as Andrea Zittel, Martin Boyce, David Renggli, Florian Slotawa). The lavish illustrations give readers a great impression of whal the book is about. Given the difference between design and art it follows that there, too, is a difference between a work of art and a “work of design.” Tido von Oppeln puts it to the test, arguing that just as a work of art is autonomous, so can a work of design be autonomous too, provided the form in which it is presented and the emphasis of its context reflect the design ‘s self-reference and consciously stage it “in the work.” Examples of such strategies include installations by Jasper Morrison, works by Jurgen Bey (Tree-trunk-bench) as well as Martino Gamper; with with his “fumiture campaigns,” “chair collages” and “situationist event furniture” uses design to take a critical stance.
On the other hand, ”ArtDesign” is to play a constitutive role in artistic practices that criticize the art system as an institution, as Burkhard Meltzer
shows. In the case of such “relational” art, design embodies practical life,
the world in which we live, with design-based installations and objects taking a critical view of the art world and the lifeworld. Featuring Liam Gillick`s exhibition-like interior designs and furniture for debate, in addition to reading corners by, among others, Douglas Gordon and cafés by Jorge Pardo and Tobias Rehberger, not to forget all those everyday situations that Rirkrit Tiravanija stages ”for real.”
Design is part of our lives, we spend our lives with design. The philosopher Alexander García Düttmann explores what this participalion fundamentally
looks like, while psychologist and economist Monika Kritzmöller discusses the way in which we are connected to things, how identity is forged by means of objects, how everyday living patterns materialize unquestioned and disintegrate once we focus our attention on them.
“In the aesthetic regime of art, art is art to the extent that it is something
other than art. It is always ‘aestheticized,’ in other words, ít always functions as a ‘form of life,” writes the French philosopher Jacques Ranciere
on Modern Art. Art is to branch out in to the lifeworld and have a formative
influence on it. Art is supposed to be more than art. Analogously, design is supposed to be more then simply dsign, to have an aestheticizing, i.e., life forming effect. Thus reciprocally enhancing one another; each sphere will unleash its very own art of living and joie de vivre.