Known for exhibiting and promoting contemporary sculptural designs and modern art, Galerie Philia will be at the forefront of the highly anticipated Milan Design Week, 2023 with 20 emerging and established artists showcasing designs on the theme of 'desacralisation.' The brainchild of two brothers, with a passion for art, philosophy and literature, Galerie Philia reflects on their transcultural and rhizomatic approach, with timeless pieces. While the gallery’s artworks cannot be boxed into a single style, they revolve around the larger theme of the heterogeneity of art, providing artists, from across the globe, with an international platform to showcase their works. The gallery also provides artists with the opportunity to organise group exhibitions with galleries in Geneva, New York, Singapore, and Mexico.
For the Milan Design Week, Galerie Philia will present an off-site exhibition, titled Desacralized in San Vittore e 40 Martiri—a deconstructed church, located in the centre of Milan. The church, originally built in the 11th century, was transformed into a secular place, serving the local community and has since been a platform for various exhibitions, even serving as a basketball court at times. It was this secular concept of the church that inspired Galerie Philia and led them to organise the exhibition. At Desacralized, designers have been invited to dictate their interpretations of desacralisation, inspired by objects which formerly had religious associations but have now transformed into being solely functional. To add to the thematic of the exhibition, all presented objects and artworks will be entirely in white.
"Objects bear witness to the past—they carry memories and their function is defined by the era in which they were created. Sacred objects have all these qualities but they also transcend their physicality to achieve spiritual and symbolic value. Desacralized is the third and last of our Milan exhibitions exploring the theme of sacredness and seeks to question the notion of desacralisation, in both its emotional and spiritual manifestations," says Ygael Attali, director at Galerie Philia.
Right at the center of the exhibition will be a monumental chandelier by Italian design duo Morghen Studio. Titled, Cascades of Light, the sculptural installation intends to give visitors a transcendental and subliminal experience of light, while drawing attention to the significance of the historic chandelier. Adding to that, Studiopepe will be showcasing an architectural marble side table, inspired by an ancient Italian baptistery whose octagonal shape refers to the number eight, a symbol of rebirth in many religions. Further, a curved coffee table by Pietro Franceschini will be playing with the concept of materiality and transformation and Kar Studio will be showcasing a chair inspired by China's oldest script, from the Shang Dynasty. Seashell, a motif that is omnipresent in the iconography of Christianity and the history of art, will also be explored by Elsa Foulan.
Other well-known designers will also be presenting their ‘desacralized’ furniture design and lighting design which includes—DOMA table lamp by Frederic Saulou, Rick Owens, presenting a never-before-seen chair, Arno Declercq's large scale dining table, Henry Wilson's ambient table lamp, Pierre de Valck's fountain which historically symbolises change and life, Andres Monnier's firepits made of rock, and Abid Javed's combination of science and ceramics in a lamp. All these key international designers will be transcending the historial traits of a religious work into something secular, something that is of functional use and something that runs parallel to the theme of desacralisation.
The gallery’s exploration of the theme of 'desacralized,' will conclude their trilogy of exploring the sacred, which has defined their past two chapters as well. The first iteration, in 2021, presented Rick Owens in dialogue with Italian emerging designers, exploring the ancient and contemporary-design ages through a post-apocalyptic aesthetic. The second iteration, in 2022, titled Temenos, presented Studiopepe’s first collection of collectable design, and marking the end of the trilogy will be the 2023 exhibition that explores the notion of desacralisation, by tweaking functionality from religious concepts.
The exhibition, Desacralized, will be on display at Milan Design Week 2023 from April 18 to 23, 2023 at the Church of San Vittore e 40 Martiri, Milan.
STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.