Inbal Strauss is a doctoral candidate at the Ruskin School of Art and Linacre College, University of Oxford.
Trained as a product designer and subsequently as a sculptor, Inbal questions the traditional distinction between art and design, which heavily hinges on how closely the mode of production adheres to the modernist dictum ‘form follows function.’ Titled “Form Unfollows Function: Subversions of Functionality in Modern Art,” her doctoral research project considers art-making as a process of design, and accordingly, considers the products of artistic production as designed objects.
More specifically, her project draws on theories of reception aesthetics and interaction design, alongside works by avant-garde artists, to demonstrate how the design decisions embodied in works of art—as well as the critical concerns underlying these decisions—give rise to a notion of function that goes beyond the notion of utility, thereby negotiating the binary opposition between utility and futility.
Overall, through practice-led research that combines both making and writing, Inbal aims to shed fresh light on the traditional understanding of creativity and the creative process, and to promote an understanding of art as a rational mode of material production that does not follow means-end rationality.
Inbal’s research is supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Kirsh Foundation, the Inger Lawrence Award, and the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust. Most recently, her research has been supported by a Predoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She holds a Master’s in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Bachelor’s in Industrial Design from the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem. Currently, Inbal is an Ashmolean Junior Teaching Fellow.
You can view some of the objects she makes at: https://www.inbalstrauss.com/