From active Objects to Objects of Desire

Essay that traces the work of Willys de Castro from his neo-concretist sculptures to his industrial fabrics and fashion in Museum Research Consortium Dossier (New York, NY, The Museum of Modern Art: 2018). Theodossis Issaias.

Theodossis Issaias
Archive, Art, Article, Development model, Queer, Theory

In 1960, de Castro presented a number of his Active Objects at II Exposição Neoconcreta, Rio de Janeiro, and became associated with the neo-concrete artists. This series offered an inventive solution to the fundamental propositions put forward by the group’s ideologist, the Brazilian poet and critic, Ferreira Gullar. In his signal 1959 essay “Theory of the Non-Object” Gullar argued that the modernist–constructivist desire to distill and subsequently end painting was finally reaching its inevitable conclusion.  For Gullar, this process, intensified by Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, culminated in the neo-concrete non-object—a new notion of the art object inserted directly into space without a frame or pedestal. Subsequently, the non-object was not only liberated from the delimiting structures of the frame and pedestal, but also from the verbal designations imposed by language. Challenging classifications according to pre-existent categories within art history, it suspended any a priori knowledge favoring the “primal –total-experience of the real.”   De Castro, now among the neo-concrete group, had the most consistent interpretation of the legacy of Constructivism which sought to abandon easel painting and embrace modes of industrial production. And industrial design he did, from the textiles for Rhodia to logos and graphic identities for large industrial conglomerates.


Fatura Collaborative – Research & Design Practice, was founded in 2009 and is developing projects across a wide range of scales, from intimate objects and performance, to architecture, urban design and planning. We are interested in architecture as social infrastructure, in developing collective equipments, in the design of spaces of care, empathy and welfare. We design and research expanding new problematics about ecology, the domestic, everyday life and the city.



is an architect and researcher based in London. She studied architecture in Patras, Greece, and currently is a PhD candidate at the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. Her research focuses on the intersections between social movements and the state apparatus, and centers around the ad-hoc infrastructures created for welfare provision during periods of crisis. She has practiced architecture in the UK and worked in the housing, healthcare, and education sectors in collaboration with public authorities and established architectural practices. Prior to London, Elisavet gained experience as an architect in Athens and Madrid.


is an architect, researcher, and educator. He studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece, and holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft and The City as a Project research collective. He is the director of Projective Cities MPhil programme at the Architectural Association, where he is also teaching Diploma Unit 7 with Hamed Khosravi. Previously, he has taught at the Berlage Institute (Netherlands), in the MArch Urban Design programme at the Bartlett, the RCA, Syracuse University and the University of Cyprus. His research interests explore urban design and architecture in the relation to the politics of labour, economy, law and labour struggles. He has written and lectured extensively about Greek urbanisation and the politics of urban development.


is an architect and educator, and recently joined the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art as Associate Curator. He earned his diploma of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and an SMarchS degree from MIT. Since 2009, he has been practicing as a founding member of Fatura Collaborative, an architecture and research collective. His PhD dissertation, “Architectures of the Humanitarian Front” (Yale University), explores the nexus of humanitarian organizations and architecture and their relation to conflict, displacement and the provision of shelter.


is an architect based in Lund, Sweden. He graduated in 2010 from the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens and holds an MSc in Energy Efficient and Environmental Building Design from the School of Architecture of Lund University (2015). He has practiced architecture as a freelance architect in Greece and currently in Sweden (eg. Tengbom architects), where he works on a wide range of projects including small houses, larger residential complexes as well as care, educational and industrial facilities.


graduated in 2007 from the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds the MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from GSAPP, Columbia University (2008). In June 2016, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the Architectural Association. Her thesis dealt with the transition towards abstraction in art and architecture during the end of 19th and early 20th centuries, with an emphasis on interwar architectural modernism in Germany. Alexandra has been teaching at the AA since 2012, where she is currently a studio master in the First Year Studio of the Experimental Programme and a Programme Coordinator and Course tutor in the MArch Architecture & Urbanism (DRL) programme. She has practiced as an architect in New York and Athens.