The American artist Paul McCarthy once coined the word "propo" to describe the objects he uses in his performances. McCarthy thought of the term because he did not consider the objects props, but thought they were related to it. Apparently their status was so ambiguous that McCarthy was forced to come up with a whole new word for it.
The exhibition “A brilliant idea, but a terrible chair” also features objects with such a shaky status. The objects are exhibited as sculptures, act as props, but at the same time they are also simply utensils. Although they sometimes have difficulty fulfilling that last function. Everyday utensils such as tape holders, teapots and ladders take on such different forms that they can hardly be used as such.
The objects can be seen in two videos, a performance and in a book that Beckers made especially for this exhibition. In these works, the objects are linked to stories and events about everyday micro-problems, in which the possibilities and limitations of these objects become visible.
In the book “Doing nothing while other people are doing something”, for example, the object acts as a solution for something that is hardly a problem, while in the video “Sticking plaster solution” the objects form a disproportionately large answer to a somewhat trivial question.
The title of the exhibition refers to a statement by Memphis Group designer Peter Shire who described a rather remarkable chair by a fellow designer as terribly impractical, but at the same time thought it was a brilliant idea.
The teapots from the video “A brilliant idea, but a terrible chair” are inspired by the designs of the Memphis Group and are an attempt to create utensils where functionality comes last. Because when is something just inefficient and when is it downright decadent? And can something really be a good idea in theory, even if it has failed miserably in practice?