Exhibitions across the globe are testimonies to the ever-evolving expressions of artists and designers, and their incessant wish to narrate stories through their creations. From artistic manifestations of complex human emotions to intrepid exploration of unchartered waters, contemporary artists and designers join forces with galleries to catalyse a meticulous curation of creative expressions. The exhibition space transmutes into a canvas for their identity, political opinions, and the freedom that entails creative endeavours. From the multifaceted sense of exiestence translating into works of weaving at Galleria d'Arte Maggiore to Wrightwood 659 bringing the inceptive traces of homosexuality in the sphere of art under one roof, the month of November is brimming with exemplary presentations.
STIR enlists 10 immersive exhibitions that are inviting visitors to step into a space of unbroached interpretations, underrated voices, and undiscovered possibilities.
1. Veloutées at Galerie Philia
Immerse yourself in the royal materiality of velvet at this exhibition. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, Métaphores’ Saint-Germain velvet joined forces with international modern art and contemporary design gallery—Galerie Philia, to breathe life into an immersive installation at its Paris showroom during the Paris Design Week in September. On display from September 07, 2022 to January 13, 2023, the exhibition dubbed Veloutées features an ensemble of pieces donned in the house’s iconic cotton velvet. The surficial iridescence adds another dimension to its texture achieving a voluptuous look with an immaculate finish. The shimmering skin complements the sensuality of Pietro Franceschini’s sculptural seating, inviting the onlookers to interact with the silkiness.
2. Trasguardi at Galleria d'Arte Maggiore
Fabric threads interweave into a visage teeming with emotions in this stirring presentation. In the same year as contemporary artist Sissi won the contest announced by Comune di Milano for the creation of a monument dedicated to Margherita Hack—now standing in front of Università Statale in Milan —Galleria d'Arte Maggiore presents her anticipated solo exhibition, encompassing an array of unreleased works. Trasguardi is Sissi's latest production, exhibited at Maggiore g.a.m. historical venue in Bologna from October 07, 2022 to November 27, 2022. A series of works in mixed materials featuring cotton and polyester threads—weaving and knotting—take the centre stage in the exhibition space. “The exhibition name Trasguardi is a word I created to level weft and gaze, an eternal drive both in being and weaving,” says Sissi, explaining how in these works, her "emotional anatomy" delves into multifaceted identity, similar to fabric threads intertwined in these works, evocative of faces with traits difficult to recognize, but exuding emotional expressions and subconscious looks.
3. ‘Michiko Itatani: Celestial Stage’ and ‘The First Homosexuals: Global Depictions of a New Identity, 1869-1930’ at Wrightwood 659
Chicago-based gallery Wrightwood 659 is simultaneously hosting two enticing exhibitions titled Michiko Itatani: Celestial Stage and . Michiko Itatani: Celestial Stage encapsulates over 60 paintings and drawings that shed light on the Chicago-based artist’s fascination with humankind’s ceaseless crusade to comprehend the universe and the magnificence of the unknown. Itatani’s creations are private in their vision yet outward facing in their interaction with the mysteries and science of the cosmos. The First Homosexuals: Global Depictions of a New Identity, 1869-1930 takes the year 1869 as its origin, when the word ‘homosexual’ was first coined in Europe. More than 100 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and film clips—sourced from public and private collections around the globe—take centre-stage at the exhibition. This unparalleled troupe of works comes forth as the first multi-medium survey of the very first self-consciously queer art, elucidating what the ‘first homosexuals’ understood themselves to be, how dominant culture understood them, and the codes of representation they employed—an unprecedented glimpse into the social and cultural meanings of same-sex desire.
4. Robert Stadler’s OMG-GMO by Carwan Gallery
Ever wondered what fruits and vegetables would look like as functional objects adorning a residence? Greece-based contemporary design gallery Carwan Gallery presents an anticipated commission by Paris-based designer Robert Stadler with Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House pavilion as the exhibition space. Stadler’s OMG-GMO project is a collection of playful ceramic functional objects created in a collaboration between the designer, the gallery, and pioneering Italian manufacturer BITOSSI Ceramiche. On view from September 24th, 2022 to December 12th, 2022, the OMG-GMO project replicates the forms of engineered fruit and vegetables in nine ceramic, hand-painted objects that morph the organic into structural and functional. Envisioned as a series of small-scale monuments, the pieces mock human manipulation of nature: a slice of a Japanese rectangular seedless watermelon becomes a stool, zucchini bend in a perfect L shape to create a set of shelves, and wheel-like aubergines support a glass coffee table, as a reference to Gae Aulenti’s Tavolo con ruote.
5. Sharing Spaces by Jason Jacques Gallery
“Nature has always been at the core of my heart and my art. When I am in nature – in solitude – I feel grounded, focused, and inspired,” says ceramic artist Eric Serritella. “The songs within each subject are what spark my creative tinder,” he adds. Jason Jacques Gallery presents Serritella’s interpretations that aim to capture the spirits of the subject in an exhibition titled Sharing Spaces. The art exhibition unfolds at the Gregg Museum of Art + Design from April 14, 2022 to December 03, 2022. He uses sculptures to experience nature’s subjects as verbs—as dynamic actions—instead of viewing them as nouns—as mere objects. The sculptural art translates these actions into stories narrated by the sculptor’s hands. Each sculpture channels a specific emotion through inquiry, recognition, and familiarity—sharing nature’s intimate stories from a perspective that allows otherwise silenced voices to be heard.
6. 'Cabinet is Me ' at Objective Gallery
From a seemingly-animated cabinet to a lamp walking its way into the home, what if wooden furniture was personified? ‘Cabinet is Me’ marks the first solo exhibition of Vincent Pocsik's work at Objective Gallery, New York. This exhibition spotlights an unparalleled ensemble of 14 functional artworks, showcasing the Los Angeles-based artist’s craft in wood carving techniques and his understanding of the relationship between human body and domestic space. Figures evolve into cabinets, table designs, and lamp designs enrobed in the floral patterning of domestic life—both figurative and literal. ‘Cabinet is Me’ originated from the thought of what it would be like for a person's domestic object, specifically a cabinet, to consequently materialise a new world, one where everything might just walk away at any given moment. " I am constantly experimenting with wood as my medium, using a mix of digital and traditional techniques to find new forms and feelings from the material itself. This process inevitably becomes taxing on the body, so using figuration is also a representation of the work that has been put into each piece," says Pocsik.
7. Kiko López: Smoke and Mirrors at Maison Gerard
“I am looking for some kind of spiritual dreamlike space where the observer can lose himself and their mood will make the experience particularly personal,” says Kiko López, a glass artist, who oeuvre is an amalgamation of artist’s sensibilities and the design approach of a skilled craftsman. The Puerto-Rican artist based in Miami, Florida brings his eclectic artworks and functional furniture designs featuring glass and crystals at the Maison Gerard in New York City, United States. Kiko López: Smoke and Mirrors will remain on view from October 15, 2022 to November 15, 2022. As a part of the solo exhibition, Lopez injects French glass engraving technique verre églomisé to his own techniques, to birth a timeless collection of glassworks that encapsulates the reflective materiality into well-sculpted artworks.
8. KICHIZAEMON X at Sagawa Art Museum
What kind of objects would the experimental juxtaposition of design and natural processes yield? This creative collaboration between renowned Japanese architectural and design studio Nendo and Raku Kichizaemon Jikinyu dubbed KICHIZAEMON X is the answer. The 13th edition of the exhibition series presents artists and their curated works inspired from tradition, contemporaneity, diverse craftsmanship and varied material narratives. For the latest instalment the collaborators concocted an array of five works in partnership with a small team of Japanese artists and artisans, with emphasis on the passage of time, texture, interior as well as the materiality of Raku ware (a type of Japanese pottery, typically handle-less, organically shaped tea bowls used in traditional tea ceremonies). The exhibition at the Raku Kichizaemon Wing of the Sagawa Art Museum Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Japan will be on display from September 16, 2022 to March 11, 2023.
9. Solastalgia at Southern Guild
What would the world look like if man’s predatory self-interest devoured its own existence and it succumbed to a dark future with scorching undergrowth, flesh-eating plants, and an environmental reality thriving, in a world without any humans? In a thought-provoking exhibit, Southern Guild gallery of Cape Town presents Solastalgia with the works of Stanislaw Trzebinski. The South Africa-based multidisciplinary artist's second solo exhibition with the gallery, commenced on September 8, 2022 and will continue till November 10, 2022. The exhibition, fueled by Trzebinski’s exploration of notions on the approaching ecological catastrophe, culminates in artworks seemingly unearthed from a dystopian world. The silhouettes paint a picture of possible metamorphosed creatures from earth's future—acid-tolerant amoeba, burrowing cave dwellers, giant carnivorous mushrooms sheathed in fungal, and porous skirts. “Our very home, the Earth, is being ruined and despoiled. So much is already lost, and I'm homesick in my own home," says Trzebinski.
10. Aldo Bakker – Pouring Vessels at Kunstmuseum The Hague
Can mundane objects cut loose from the reins of inertness and dictate the rules of interaction? Established artistic practices, functionality, or visual vocabulary undergo a process of incessant evolution as they are challenged time and again by new creations defying the status quo. Dutch designer Aldo Bakker severs the rigid perceptions that accompany the relationship between humans and objects—one that takes up a significant space in life. Constructing his body of work with exquisite shapes, materials, and colours, Bakker breathes life into singular sculptural art, furniture designs, and pouring vessels. His ‘schenkers’ or pouring vessels—one of his most seminal design typologies—are sensuous objects in monochrome skins and calm silhouettes, far from being compliant. The ever-expanding body of pouring vessels is highlighted in Aldo Bakker – Pouring Vessels, an exhibition at Kunstmuseum The Hague, one of Europe’s largest art museums. Open to the public from October 22, 2022 to May 07, 2023, the exhibition features nearly 40 vessel designs by Bakker.