The Campana Brothers

Humberto Campana (1953), began his “adult life” as a lawyer.  But when his brother, Fernando Campana (1961), completed his architectural degree in the mid-80s, the Campana brothers seemed to say “fuck it, let’s make some badass furniture.”

 

 

“Our designs were born in the street, from the urban kitsch of the popular quarters and contact with nature,” they say. “Whenever we can, we go back to our farm. Nature revitalises our ideas.”   In 1998 they had a show at MoMa (the first Brazilian artists to ever do so, might I add), and the rest is history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gufram: I Multipli

The “Multiples” series began with a collaboration with Piero Gilardi, with an emphasis on creative freedom over the functional demands imposed by production. The artist designed the first series of Sassi (Stones) in 1968. The Sassi resembled enlarged versions of simple stones, and thus became simultaneously playful and sculptural objects. Before long, the “Multiples” series expanded, giving free rein to an unrestrained sense of fantasy and creativity. In 1971 Giorgio Ceretti, Pietro Derossi and Riccardo Rosso, members of the architectural group Strum, designed the “Pratone” (Large Lawn), a well-chosen example of hypertrophic nature in the form of a rug that resembled an overgrown lawn. That same year saw the introduction of the Bocca (Mouth), a sofa-sculpture inspired by a painting by Dalì, seen by Sudio65.

Cactus was brought out in 1972, designed by Guido Drocco and Franco Mello. The desert plant, divested of thorns and presented in human proportions, was transformed into an unexpected clothes-stand. This exhibition presents these well-known pieces to a broader public, along with other lesser known or never before seen pieces, such as the Minnie, the Farfalla (Butterfly), the Mattoni (Bricks), the Tavolo Erba (Grass Table), the Detecma, and the PietraLuce (StoneLight), objects whose radical visionary nature has remained unchanged.

-Franco Mello

Studio 65: Bocca, 1971

Guido Drocco and Franco Mello: Cactus, 1972

Piero Gilardi: Massolo, 1974

Piero Gilardi: Pavé Piuma, 1967

Gruppo Strum: Pratone, 1971

Gruppo Strum: Puffo, 1970

Piero Gilardi: Sassi, 1968

Gruppo Strum: Torneraj, 1968

Studio 65: Capitello, 1971

Pretty excellent.

The Clock by Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay’s movie/art piece/clock/amazingness is a little bit of gloriousness just about anyone can appreciate it.  Titled “The Clock”, it is just that – a 24-hour montage of thousands of film and television clips with glimpses of clocks, watches, and snatches of people saying what time it is, that actually keeps accurate time.  The installation is set up in each city so that whatever time is shown is, in fact, the correct time as of that instant. In this way while the piece serves as food for thought about the nature of time in the cinema, and indeed in life itself, the whole thing also functions as a gigantic and perfectly impractical clock!

12:04  – 12:07

Research for the film began with the help of six young assistants, charged with the task of watching countless hours of movies of their choice and identifying any moment in any one of them that showed or alluded to a clock or time.  And so the “data” was compiled; each scene was logged into a Google spreadsheet until there were thousands upon thousands of moments, each identified to the minute.  Then, it was Marclay’s time to work his editing magic.

4:30 – 4:33

Over the course of nearly three years, the artist created what is truly a masterpiece.  Theoretically, “The Clock” could have been ridiculously boring – a 24-hour movie that forces you to literally watch the minutes pass in thousands of unrelated moments; but it is just the opposite.  Marclay turns time into a compelling character in-and-of-itself.  “The viewer can see how it ages actors such Jack Nicholson in real life – at 1:51 A.M. he is a frantic juvenile delinquent in “The Cry Baby Killer,” but at 4:59 P.M., he is the paunchy and bald hero of “About Schmidt,” gazing at his office clock as he torpidly awaits retirement (from the New Yorker article). There is also a heightened sense of urgency as time ticks towards those “ten-to” and “five-to” moments, especially at noon when we watch Lola frantically running the streets of Berlin, and Leonardo DiCaprio making a mad dash to get on the Titanic before it ships out to sea.  Then Marclay switches to those times of boredom that fill at least a few moments of most days – waiting in line, yearning for the school bell to ring, killing time, etc.  The realism and emotion of the whole thing is just so spot on.

“The Clock” is beyond excellent.  Go see it if you get a chance.

Inventor of the Day: Dr. Peter Schlumbohm

Doesn’t that name just roll off the tongue?!

Though you may not know his name, I can almost guarantee you know his greatest invention – the Chemex coffee maker. The creation is part chemist’s funnel, part Erlenmeyer flask, with a blond leather band in the middle corseting its hourglass curves. It is an iconic symbol of German modernism and simple, functional Bauhaus style.  Its success launched its inventor, Dr. Peter Schlumbohm (1896-1962), into the arms of the design establishment (the coffee maker has been a part of the MOMA’s design collection since 1944, just three years after Schlumbohm patented it), and in the early years of World War II, it was considered a patriotic alternative to products made from metals and plastics (which were essential to the war effort). A Time Magazine article from November 1946 quotes the ebullient inventor as saying, “with the Chemex, even a moron can make good coffee.”  So true.

But Schlumbohm (don’t you just love that name?!) also had some pretty excellent though lesser known inventions.  There was the disposable Instant Ice container for the man about town lugging a warm bottle of Champagne; the Tubadipdrip was a coffee and tea maker by day, and a cocktail mixer by night.  In fact, by 1949 the doctor held patents on some 300 inventions, ranging from a propane-fuelled motor to a conical garbage can, about a dozen of which were developed into successful products, and an insane amount of which are part of the MOMA collection.

Filterjet Fan

The Ice Vault

Cocktail Shaker

Fahrenheitor Cocktail Shaker

Fahrenheitor Flower Vase

Fahrenheitor Mushroom Tray Bottle Cooler

the Tubadipdrip

Conical Garbage Can

Water Kettle

Two-Gallon Coffeemaker with Ring Base

There was even a car – the Chemobile!

The Chemobile featured a wrap-around windshield. Schlumbohm described the passenger compartment, which was placed over the powertrain, as being “rather analogous to a man riding a horse or to a maharajah riding in a basket on top of an elephant.”

Kind of makes you feel a bit unproductive, huh?!