Peter Shire

If it’s not a chair it’s a teapot

Artist, designer, ceramicist, a member of the Memphis group, Peter Shire designs by adding. Read an extract from the article published on Domus 1020.

Peter Shire

This article was originally published in Domus 1020.

In the January issue, the first one directed by Michele De Lucchi and dedicated to rebellion, Domus had a conversation with Peter Shire. The designer, artist and ceramicist was born in Los Angeles in 1947 and was one of the members of the Memphis group.

When I design, I proceed by adding rather than subtracting. Movement in the making of work, the rhythm of work, the dance must be present, or the work will be inert. A very smart person (who?) once said, “People will watch anything that moves, including an insect crawling across the floor.” Actual mechanical movement brings an immense amount of expense, engineering and maintenance, so I borrow compositional ideas from futurism and constructivism as well as use techniques found in cars, motorcycles, boats, planes to give the illusion of movement.

To do things that confront and go against norms is not only difficult, but also an act of self-possession

I think many aspects of politics, culture and conformity are inhumane, wrong, or just unnecessary. To do things that confront and go against these norms is not only difficult, but also an act of self-possession. There’s a moment when the image contained in the act of creativity cries from a far corner across the abyss. Perhaps one then exercises self-imposed conformity, saying, “Oh no, you can’t do that!” That’s the very moment you must break free. Such self-possession and the thrill of jumping across the chasm are ingrained in my incorrigible nature”.

Read the full article on Domus 1020. Original piece edited by Elena Sommariva.

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