New Interview
Ini Archibong

Ini Archibong: “I have to stay spiritually in tune”

May 25, 2022

Mr. Archibong, in your opinion, are the objects and furniture you create as an industrial designer art?

I think so. From the beginning, I've seen what I do as art, and design as the medium. Just like some artists use paint, I use design. And part of the narrative of any piece of art that I'm making is the assumed function of that piece. So the fact that this is a table, that is part of the narrative of the piece of art. It’s not an artfully done table, it’s a table-fully done piece of art. (Laughs) You know what I mean? I come from a culture where all the stuff that we would call art is actually just called design. In a lot West African cultures, there’s no word for art: all the masks, all the statues, things like that are just functional pieces of design that have a spiritual purpose. They weren’t just frivolous art. The idea that something has to be useless in order to be art is something I reject.

So when someone is buying one of your pieces, does it feel to you like they are buying your art and displaying it in their home?

That's exactly right! Like, if you go to Flos, and you buy a lamp, and you put that in your home and somebody asks about it, you’re not necessarily going to be say, “Oh, this is the name of the lamp, it was made in this year, it was designed by this person.” Now somebody walks in your house and one of my chandeliers is hanging over your table, they're going to be like, “What is that?” And you'll say, “Yeah, I spent a lot of money on that, because it is a piece of art.” So I do see it as different, especially because my pieces each have a kind of a narrative along with them.

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Last week’s Interview
Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist: “I believe in generosity as a medium”

May 18, 2022

Mr. Obrist, you are an art curator, a critic, a historian, an author, and the artistic director at Serpentine Galleries. Where do you find the time to do all this work?

(Laughs) It’s not that the work gets faster or easier over time. It still takes a lot of time to do all this work, but I’ve come up with certain systems. One big change in my way of working came around 10 years ago: I realised that I wanted to work with a night producer. There are people who don’t want to work during the day, so to liberate someone from working during daytime, I would hire them to work with me at night. During the day, I have interviews, scholarly things, team meetings, meetings outside the gallery… At night, I then do correspondence for my books, or I’ll do research, or I produce and continue to work with my night producer. This routine is a great excuse to leave dinners and parties early, as I still have to work.

What is the curfew you give yourself?

There are only very few exceptions, but I basically almost never go home past 11:00pm. I go to sleep around midnight and my night producer continues to work, so when I wake up at 6.00am the next morning, a lot of things are already done, and I can just continue.