A Dialogue Between Art x Furniture: Italian Group Exhibition 'In the Matter of Color II’


In the Matter of Color II: Italian Group Exhibition 2024

Whitestone Gallery Taipei is pleased to present "In the Matter of Color II," a group exhibition currently showcasing four renowned contemporary Italian artists: Turi Simeti (1929-2021), Alberto Biasi (b.1937), Pino Pinelli (1938-2024), and Natale Addamiano (b.1943). Building on the theme of color from our 2018 exhibition, this exhibit focuses on color as its central theme, exploring the trajectories of these four artists’ creative journeys.

In collaboration with MOT SELECT, the exhibition integrates multiple sets of museum-grade Italian classic designer furniture within the gallery space. This synergy between art and design concepts fosters a dynamic dialogue through elements such as color, line, form, and the application of modern materials, highlighting the evolution of Italian aesthetics. Furthermore, it underscores the bright, lively, avant-garde, and elegant charm characteristic of Italian style.

In the Matter of Color II: Italian Group Exhibition

This article invites readers to embark on a journey of collaboration between art and designer furniture. Through a conversation between Millais Kao, Director of JUT LIVING, and Sophie Su, Director of Whitestone Gallery Taipei, the creative process behind the exhibition is unveiled, highlighting the intricate interplay between art and design. By integrating Italian masterpieces with contemporary furniture, they have crafted a narrative that is both visually striking and conceptually rich.

In the Matter of Color II: Italian Group Exhibition 2024

The Making of the Exhibition

Millais: How do exhibitions happen, you ask? Well, it's a bit like this: when we decided to do it, I just casually threw out, "Alright, are you guys going to pitch in?" (laughs)

Sophie: (laughs) This is our second time at Whitestone Taipei featuring Italian artists, and this time I wanted to do something a bit special. I thought about the placement with Italian designer furnitures. That's when I reached out to you guys at JUT LIVING because you're iconic in this field. I got in touch with the senior management at JUT LIVING, met you, and then you helped us with selecting some exciting pieces and introducing them to us.

Millais: Actually, when I first heard you talk about the exhibition's content, I thought it was a pretty good opportunity, considering how amazing Italian furniture is. At that time, the artist who left the strongest impression on me was Simeti. It happened by chance when I was in Milan. I didn't really know who he was back then, but I understood he was a master. Later, when I saw his works at the gallery, I was truly amazed. Because at that time, I had a feeling that his works, back in the 60s and 70s, were more focused on interior design, and they had a very minimalist style. But in terms of the use of geometry, light, and materials, it left a deep impression on me, and the memory is still quite vivid. So when I heard you mention this exhibition, I felt like the appearance of those furniture pieces was just popping up in my mind.

Right: Millais Kao (Director of JUT LIVING), Left: Sophie Su (Director of Whitestone Gallery Taipei)

Cultural Enrichment: The Impact of Italian Art

Sophie: Starting with Italy, it's just bursting with richness, whether it's fashion, industrial design, cars, food, wine, coffee, or architecture. The depth of its art and culture is simply astounding. For this exhibition, being a gallery, we drew inspiration from Italian masterpieces and showcase the work of these four iconic Italian artists. And I'm keen to infuse more unique Italian elements into the mix.

Millais: You know, when you mentioned "minimalism" earlier, it reminded me of a significant movement in Milan during the 1980s called "Memphis." It was a game-changer; suddenly, furniture wasn't just about function; it was a burst of colors and creativity. It really captures the passionate spirit of Italy. I believe it's also influenced Italian furniture design even up to today. So, for this exhibition, we're not just showcasing artworks; we're creating a conversation between art and everyday life. You know, the kind of conversation you have at home, where artworks and furniture complement each other perfectly. That's why we handpicked some fascinating pieces from the 1980s, 1990s, and around 2000. We want viewers to see how seamlessly art and furniture can blend together. It's all about creating that immersive experience.

Sophie: Exactly! It's about making it feel effortless and accessible.

Millais: Exactly, it's very artistic.

Sophie: Yes, very approachable. That's why here at Whitestone, we're able to foster such a dialogue, which I find quite unique.

In the Matter of Color II: Italian Group Exhibition 2024

Elevating Home Comfort with Art and Furniture

Millais: Let's delve into the pieces showcased in this Whitestone exhibition and their synergy with our furniture. It's actually quite straightforward. Recently, I've been contemplating the concept of "decluttering." Our homes tend to accumulate a plethora of belongings, and sometimes every nook and cranny feels overstuffed. When faced with such a situation, making things work becomes quite challenging, wouldn't you agree? Because to accommodate something new, you need space to maneuver. Therefore, if you have a small corner in your living space, not too expansive, and you're contemplating, "How can I seamlessly integrate art with my furniture?"—it's not as complex as it may seem. Why? Let's start with something elemental: colors. Essentially, all artworks and paintings exhibit an inherent color scheme, which tends to be rather straightforward. Although different pieces convey varying atmospheres, within a series, the color palette remains relatively consistent. Therefore, all you need to do is select a piece of furniture with lines that appeal to you, and if the colors complement each other, that's a win! It's akin to dressing; opting for an all-black ensemble, and merely changing your shoes to match. It's simple as that. However, should you wish to delve deeper into this subject, that's where curiosity plays a vital role. I believe the joy of research lies in discovering the perfect harmony between these two objects. When they effortlessly coalesce, that sense of satisfaction is truly unparalleled.

In the Matter of Color II: Italian Group Exhibition 2024

Exhibition Highlights: The Rainbow Chair and Biasi’s Masterpieces

Millais: Sophie, I have to emphasize this particular piece to you. I must admit, I hesitated for quite some time during the selection process, but eventually, I felt it was absolutely necessary. Especially given our theme this time around—color. You see, with just a glance at these lines, it's truly astonishing: beneath this minimalist exterior lies a wealth of energy, all emanating from its colors. Each gradient seems like a spectrum, don't you think? I particularly love how seamlessly it matches with the artist's work above it. And here's the thing, when you see the light dancing upon it, the chair's bling-bling, its reflection—it elevates the piece to a whole new level... it adds so much more.

Sophie: It's my first time seeing this rainbow chair up close, and honestly, it just brings so much joy. But during the exhibition setup, figuring out the lighting for it was quite a headache. How do we capture its classic rainbow silhouette and the reflections in such limited space and with the track lights? And then, I was also contemplating which piece by Alberto Biasi to choose. But then, it struck me—I was incredibly fortunate. Half a year ago, I selected this rainbow-colored Biasi piece that perfectly resonates with it. It's just so perfect!

Millais: So... it's a dialogue between two rainbows, a success!

Sophie: Absolutely!

In the Matter of Color II: Italian Group Exhibition 2024

Challenges in the Collaboration: What Went Down?

Sophie: When “NOKE” initially presented the proposal, there were so many stunning chairs. I thought our gallery space was quite ample, but it turned out not to be enough because each chair requires its own space; it's essentially a sculpture. So, when I realized that placing them all together might lead to a clash, I struggled with the decision. What to choose? Or rather, how to choose and position them in the right spaces. So, there were some discussions and exchanges of opinions between us.

Millais: It truly was quite challenging. Like I mentioned before, the juxtaposition of the plumbing and coral seemed unrelated at first, but they're both creations of the same designer, and both are remarkable. It was quite a dilemma. And then there's the CMYK lamp—I initially wondered why it was there, but somehow, when I arrived, it just felt like that spot needed a vibrant CMYK lamp to complement it. But I think the current outcome is excellent; the combination with the coral chair is fantastic.

Sophie: Paired with Biasi's piece, I think they three should get along quite well. These three designers, three artists—they should really be good friends.

Millais: The proportions of the pieces look splendid.

Sophie: Yes, absolutely.

Millais: Indeed, they complement each other perfectly. This collaboration seems to have gone quite smoothly, don't you think? Not many difficulties.

Sophie: Yes, it's been smooth. I mean, way back, around two or three months ago, or even six months ago, we were already selecting works from these four artists. We picked them from the archives, had them sent over, and then added your three-dimensional designer chairs. The hardest part, I think, was figuring out which chair to pair with which painting, ensuring they had a connection and felt like good friends, had an interactive vibe. It was quite a puzzle because I was worried that the artworks we originally selected wouldn't naturally mesh with the type of chairs we had in mind...

Millais: But it's all come together wonderfully now.

Sophie: Yes, indeed. It's quite fortunate. NOKE, especially, I think, after reviewing our paintings, he skillfully and precisely picked out a few chairs that fit perfectly.

In the Matter of Color II: Italian Group Exhibition 2024

Through this exploration, 'In the Matter of Color II' not only celebrates the profound connections between art and design but also reaffirms the enduring influence of Italian aesthetics. As visitors immerse themselves in the vibrant interplay of color and form, they are invited to experience the timeless elegance and innovation that define both the artworks and the designer furniture.

Discover the synergy of ART and DESIGN

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