Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art presents an exhibition by Miguel Rios. Constituted by design objects, the show is an installation built around two object typologies: variations on a device not included in our lexicon of daily objects (but that we could describe as inhalers) , and one table. If the first group does not possess a nomenclature, as its objects do not have any associated tradition of social or personal function, the table belongs to an age -old lexicon that makes it recognizable by a name, a function and a typological set.
Let's start by the nameless objects.
They are ceramic and glass devices, being that one of them (made of glass) stands out due to its complexity. These pieces emanate from the memory of devices pertaining to a laboratorial universe, consecutively redesigned and refitted to fulfill the function of providing an olfactory experience to their future and hypothetical users. Composite pieces reminiscent of a thermal baths' ambiance of inhalation, vapor, and odor; they are opaque in their feminine form and (hélas!) transparent in their masculine version. Their gender is determined by their names: Winnie and Willie, names taken from Samuel Beckett's Happy Days , a play written in 1961. This association with Beckett's text permeates the ambiance produced for the presentation of these objects, specifically through the reference to Winnie's feminine figure who, free from all causality and enigmatically half-buried in the ground, recalls her past while going through the contents of her purse. Within Beckett's body of work the past does not exist as causality but as the production of an agent. Based in this universe, the object conceived by Miguel Rios is a memory producing device, one that shapes the way how we relate to the construction of a past.
In this sense, Miguel Rios' inhalers are devices that possess a particular function - they can be used to sense odors from the past, such as the scent of rain on dry earth, or a scent reminiscent of childhood, somewhere in the countryside, a function signaled by a per fume pump sprayer and a respirator. Through its medical connotation, this function is associated with a tradition of inhaling devices, such as nebulizers and vaporizers, all belonging to the universe of thermal baths, or sanatoriums, which are by excellence the literary place for the production of memories - i.e., its construction for the future, as it happens in the work of Thomas Mann. Taking on another perspective; within the artistic context the phenomenology of odor and its application to breathing and sharing are intimately associated with Neo -Concrete Brazilian Art, as it was personified by Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica . Namely, in Clark's production of the devices we today call relational and in Oiticica's scented Bólides (smelling of coffee, for example) , works that function both as memory detonators and as games of recognition.
The same happens with these pieces: they are a game of recognition, allowing the exploration of olfactory universes that can themselves build memories, and refer to the future construction of a past. They are "hopeful futilitarian" objects, as Robert Brustein once described Winnie.
The three tables belong to a set of office furniture, currently in development and presented here as a concept, in their project version. The contrast between the mirror's rigor and opulence, the precision of its finish, possess an almost theatrical - but certainly per formative - connotation.
Developed in partnership with I MO as part of an office furniture line, they branch from an office furniture typology reminiscent of the 1950s modernist universe. Their current version, subtly asymmetrical (the in-line installation reinforces this asymmetry) , corresponds to a limited edition of five copies and may one day be part of a corporate office furniture line. Their adaptation to an office system that will implement their functionalities is currently being developed (by a team that also includes Telma Barrelas, Miguel Rios' collaborator).
Worthy of note, the mirror sur face is produced in stainless steel, a material that unlike glass allows the production of a per fect mirror, one that does not duplicate the image on its sur face. The tables' chromaticity is nuanced by the MDF edges with their lacquered earth tones, tempering its cold universe with one more reference to the materials (wood, metal, and Formica) that were most common in the beginning of the modern age, the age of office furniture, something already belonging to our collective memory.
The exhibition ambiance is enveloped by the same scenic dimension, as a stage for an action - one which will only develop in the game of recognition we accept to play; producing, as a future memory, the reinvented scents from our past.