Arad still on form

Although Ron Arad has resigned from the Royal College of Arts, he’s nowhere near done.

First Published in

Shortly after announcing his retirement from the Royal College of Arts, Ron Arad proved he’s nowhere near done, with an exhibition of new work at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in London.

Perhaps the pivotal piece of the exhibition, Oh, the Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends is an extraordinary, imposing shelving unit in the shape of the United States, which colonises almost an entire wall of the gallery. Constructed jigsaw-like from individual “states” of stainless and Corten steel, it has a powerful, commanding presence, both playful and provocative.

Continuing Arad’s ever-evolving reinvention of the chair, The Thumbprint and Rod Gomli are jewel-like objects composed of multiple rods that shimmer as the light shifts, revealing subtle gradations of colour. The first in their respective editions, they are commanding yet intricate pieces whose seductive contours invite the viewer to touch and explore before climbing into their curved centre. 
Among these works were a series of three unique Bodyguards. Crafted from inflated aerospace aluminium and cut individually before being polished and tinted, they were shown alongside three new and unique Drunk Bodyguards. These extremely heavy sculptural pieces seemed to balance weightlessly in midair.
Ambitious and innovative, these resolutely Arad works challenged the boundaries of material and form, physically appearing to defy logic, while remaining functional.

In August, Arad will be succeeded by Tord Boontje as head of the Design Products department at the RCA but surely there is no successor to his take on form.