The Italian duo Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi draw on society’s ambivalent stance towards the “foreign” or “strange” as the theme for their first solo exhibition. Taking into account MAK Branch Geymüllerschlössel’s historical ambiance, The Stranger Within introduces a series of work that deals with the paradox of yearning for distant places and enjoying the cosiness and luxury of majestic and grand historical homes.
Formafantasma’s experimental objects react subtly to the fascination with the “exotic” that is reflected in the Geymüllerschlössel’s architecture.
"In a globalised world where the concept of the ‘exotic’ is losing its meaning, we invite the audience to take a closer look and, in questing after inspiration for the design of the present and the future, to turn their gaze both inward and back towards the past," say the designers.
The central focus of the exhibition is The Stanger Within Nodus Rug, a rug designed specifically for the Geymüllerschlössel’s Blue Salon in collaboration with the Italian producer Nodus. The piece, derived from the texture and colouration of the surrounding interior space, is reminiscent of an oversized mask and functions as the mystical metaphor of the foreign. Standing upright in the middle of the Salon, the rug acts like a totem around which the other exhibits distribute themselves through the villa’s adjoining rooms.
Mechanisms of colonial power are addressed through a series of objecs, titled Moulding Tradition. Starting from Arabian-African influences on European ceramics, the duo makes reference to present-day migration flows from Africa to islands such as Lampedusa.
The work series Botanica and Craftica, which deal with innovative material developments and their application, went under further development for the exhibition. At the Geymüllerschlössel, these works, initially developed from animal or plant waste material, find their counterparts in a boutique of artificial flowers made entirely of butterfly wings.
The Salon also presents Studio Formafantasma’s first-ever presentation of their prototype for the drinking set collection, Alphabet, developed in collaboration with Viennese glassware manufacturer J. &L. Lobmeyr.
The Stranger Within is presented at MAK Design Salon #02 in Vienna, Austia until 4 October 2013.