The exhibition “Objectivity. The Art of Useful Things” in the Kunsthal, Rotterdam, presents the result of the collecting mania of British design teacher and architect David Usborne (1939, London). He has a fascination for the form and aesthetics of objects that have been rendered functionless over time. Industry is constantly designing and developing new products, a process whereby others lose their purpose. As a collector, Usborne visits many second-hand markets, casting a predatory eye over thousands of objects, searching for interesting combinations of form, material, elegance, and mysterious uselessness. The circa 140 objects selected for the exhibition form a real modern-day cabinet of curiosities. Some products exhibit a similarity to animal or human appearances, while others seem to be art objects. Most symbolize to a useful function from a foregone era, whereby we ask ourselves what their purpose could have been?

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