MAY, 13, 2010





A space for a chair.

The invitation sent to Miguel Rios to conceive a project for EMPTY CUBE had two premises: the first was to cause the creation of an event in which the space’s cubic form became the object of reflection of a designer.

The second was to inquire whether it is possible for this ephemeral event to reach a fictional platform, out of a work context that has function connected to aesthetic reasoning as its modus operandi.

To quote António Pinto Ribeiro in his essay Por exemplo a cadeira: “Only the human being has the singularity of resorting to the pause the chair allows, thus interrupting the chain of movements.”

What Miguel Rios brings us, during the moment in which this project can be seen, is a hybrid experience that positions us between fiction and reality, suspended between simulacrum and reality. This experience, which covers the whole exhibition space of Galeria Appleton Square, subjects us to an unfolding of our understanding of that space and the objects it contains. First of all, the cubic form, which is at the origin of the created object and appears apparently duplicated by the unfolding of one of the faces of the architectural space in which EMPTY CUBE is held. Secondly, the created object, a chair with a cube-based concept and design, which is presented in two successive moments that generate an opposition. It can be said that this action takes place in two acts.

In the first, we glimpse a chair-like object inside the cube. This object is in all particulars quite similar to the chairs we will see in the second act, organised in a scenic composition. The first chair we observe is not represented by a drawing or by a sequence of pictures that would recreate something impossible in a realistic way, bolstering our imaginations already impregnated by fantasy and desire. That chair is a dynamic object, conditioned by an observation device that invokes principles of geometry to place us in the perspective’s vanishing point, to which a real object corresponds. This project is an evocation of Louis Albert Necker’s cube, in the sense that it offers us an illusory, yet three-dimensional experience.

The chair’s project took as its model a regular geometric shape, which was subjected to an intervention that brings it into a fictional relationship with the observer. The austere precision of the design and the choice of a single material for its execution show an affinity with Minimalist thought, more concretely with Donald Judd’s thought and production.

“Pirson: Je pourrais aussi regarder la chaise comme un object (parmi d’autres)…”, the project conceived by Miguel Rios and his design studio, confronts us with a diversity of references that run across architecture, design, sculpture, drawing or cinema, while simultaneously contemplating absurdity or transgression. The chair becomes a transitory figure that stands between impossibility and its presence as a potential consumer good, between the camera obscura as a space of conditioned viewing – and thus of conditioned perception – and the gallery as a relational and mundane space.

João Silvério
May 2010