Dysfunctional objects become collectors’ luxuries

A subversive art show that challenges the design norm

Erratum pipe by Soner Denurel, £475 (edition of 10)
Erratum pipe by Soner Denurel, £475 (edition of 10) | Image: Jonathan Minster

What is afunctional object that has been deliberately designed not to work? Anobject that, aside from one major flaw, remains in all other respects a finelycrafted piece made from quality materials? It’s a dysfunctional luxury, according toLondon-based artist Jeremy Hutchison. “True beauty has no function,” heargues. “Beauty is not something to be used or understood. It is a feeling:beyond sense, beyond logic, beyond utility. It is an ethic of perfectdysfunction.”

Erratum saw by Wind Cheng, £525 (edition of 10)
Erratum saw by Wind Cheng, £525 (edition of 10) | Image: Jonathan Minster

To illustratehis belief, he invited factory workers around the world tointroduce a key error to the objects they produce in order to create alimited-edition collection of beautiful, non-functioning designs. There’s the saw with teeth in the wrong place (second picture, £525; edition of 10) made by Wind Cheng in Suzhou, China, thedouble-headed sports racquet (£995; edition of six) produced by Janice Chen inTaiwan, and the bladeless cheese grater (£475; edition of 10) madeby Zeng Wei Cheng in Yangjiang, China. In addition, some items, such as a hermetically sealed teapot (£1,495) and an unusable stepladder (£1,755), are unique.

Erratum skateboard by Kim Lun, £775 (edition of five)
Erratum skateboard by Kim Lun, £775 (edition of five) | Image: Jonathan Minster

Is theproject little more than an art-world joke? Lu Gang’s classic notebook (£295; edition of 10), for example, is apparently held shut with an elastic strap but can’t actually open, and Soner Denurel’s solid Turkish cherrywood pipe (first picture, £475; edition of 10) can’tbe smoked, while the wheels on Kim Lun’s skateboard (third picture, £775; edition of five) runin opposite directions. Because of these flaws, however, there is an intriguingirony at play: as practical domestic items they invoke frustration, yet by removing their function Hutchison elevates them to art objets. The collection, called Erratum, forms Hutchison’s first UK solo show.