Jo’burg art pick: March 11 2011

Brothers Humberto and Fernando Campana, who make up the industrial design duo Estúdio Campana, have an eye for junk.

In response to a time of political and economic turmoil in Brazil, during the 1980’s, the brothers began to make functional and aesthetic objects using throw-away materials – cardboard, wire, recycled bits of plastic and useless found objects – as an alternative to the unaffordable and resource-hungry high design objects that were then regarded as exemplars of good taste. Today their designs fetch a hefty price. Don’t expect to pay less than R50 000 for stool crowned with a cushion made of stuffed toys, or a table made of shredded car tyres.

Design guru Li Eldekoort attributes Estúdio Campana’s novel approach to a wider concern in the design field with a return to the handmade, following the increasing virtuality of the world we inhabit. In her essay Campana Culture, she writes: ‘The more virtual the world was becoming,the more tactile it had to be. Consumers of the future would be interested not only in industrial objects, but also handmade ones, and designers were starting to investigate how serial production could be unique at the same time.”

A curated selection of Estúdio Campana’s designs shows, for the first time in South Africa, at the Goodman Gallery Project Space at Arts on Main, until April 1.

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