Semi-functional Works

Rhubaba
Until 16th November

The Rhubaba’s exhibition space sits behind a corrugated metal wall, with a small metal door. Upon ringing the doorbell, you are received in a bright, white-walled square room. It was artist Ben Callaghan’s task to fill this room’s centre space and walls with an exhibition to house copies of a new book by the gallery and as a setting for the gallery’s gatherings and events. This initial task centres on the fusion of functional design and art production, with an aim to create a functioning space that also expresses something on its own. The resulting exhibition is thought-provoking and interactive.

Three dimensional pieces are set on a large, low-level platform in the centre of the room. On top of the pieces you may find (‘may’ being the operative word, as they do have the chance of being moved by viewers) small geometric sculptures, a tile puzzle, a shelf housing books and optic lenses, a basketball, or an angled coaster. An upturned flat headed broom leans against the wall displaying pictures between its bristles. The exhibition supports interaction – parts can be moved; it is such movement that exemplifies the interaction of design and function. Callaghan explains his interest in examining how people would interact with the exhibition – how will different groups use the objects in the room, for what purpose, and how do these interactions contribute and lend meaning to the exhibition.

Callaghan plans to modify the exhibition weekly, as he could then learn more about how people interact with the semi-functional objects, looking into questions like what happens when design becomes antagonistic or problematic for the users? Since Callaghan’s studio is housed at the Rhubaba, the discourse between organisers and artist about the work was continuous throughout creation and went on for longer than usual. This fermenting is one of many reasons why Semi-Functional Works offers a look into art with a thought-provoking and accessible character. It would be an ideal stop for anyone interested in seeing some art in action at Rhubaba Art Gallery.

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