El Ultimo Grito: New Installation
Rice University Art Gallery has commissioned Spanish design studio El Ultimo Grito to create a new site-specific installation.
Based in London, the husband and wife team of Rosario Hurtado and Roberto Feo are winners of the 2012 London Design Medal and internationally known for creating an eclectic range of objects and installations that defy easy categorization.
At Rice University Art Gallery, El Ultimo Grito will expand upon their approach to design and construction in which they rely on their hands, bodies, and readily available, inexpensive materials to “free” them from traditional methods of production. Grito explains this creative mode as,
a return to a kind of primitivism, before tools and machines could inform the way we design and think about design, and it is exemplified in their recent installation in a public plaza in Mexico City as part of Abierto Mexicano de Diseño Festival of 2013. Over the course of a few days, Grito and a team of volunteers covered a lanky, snaking plywood armature in bubble wrap and secured it with packing tape to make an organic, lumpy form that sprouted legs and a mushroom-like spine. Covered with a decorative “skin” of bright orange and black stickers designed by Grito, the final installation was a wildly patterned, eccentric form existing as functional public seating, contemporary sculpture, and graphic design.
The rough, unpolished aesthetic that they often return to suits the necessity of problem solving that can instigate new design. Needing a table for their new Berlin studio, Grito created Free Range (2011) from leftover moving boxes.
Industrial design means that there is a dictatorship of how things need to look, says Hurtado.
But objects don’t need to have an industrial resolution to be a finished object.
Difficult to pigeonhole, El Ultimo Grito also produces objects with high finish that are professionally fabricated, but still revel in ambiguity. Their famous Mico Multi-use Stool (2006) in Design Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) is an amorphous shape cast in red plastic with four odd protrusions that allow the object to be flipped and rested four different ways.
We always try to reflect on what design is, Feo explains.
For us, design is just the processes by which you materialize ideas. When you think about design in these terms, everything comes into design — philosophy, writing, everything — and the disciplines are just mediums within which you work. You no longer need to think about whether it’s art, design, a film or whatever. Hurtado adds,
Leonardo Da Vinci did everything. Nobody ever told him, ‘Excuse me, you’re an artist, why are you doing that?’
The opening celebration on Thursday, January 23 from 5 pm to 7 pm, will feature remarks by El Ultimo Grito at 6:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.