Martino Gamper

05 Mar - 18 May 2014

© Martino Gamper
design is a state of mind
5 March - 18 May 2014

Influential London-based Italian designer Martino Gamper guest-curates a new exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

“There is no perfect design and there is no über-design. Objects talk to us personally. Some might be more functional than others, and the emotional attachment is very individual. This exhibition showcases a very personal way of collecting and gathering objects – these are pieces that tell a tale” - Martino Gamper

In the exhibition design is a state of mind Gamper presents a landscape of shelving systems, telling the story of design objects and their impact on our lives. The pieces of furniture, arranged around the outer walls of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, date from the 1930s to the present day and range from historic design classics and one-off pieces, to industrial, utilitarian, contemporary and newly commissioned work. Renowned designers such as Ettore Sottsass, Charlotte Perriand and Giò Ponti are placed in close proximity to IKEA and Dexion industrial shelves that together represent an eclectic history of the way that we display, archive and organise our most precious possessions. The function of each piece is underlined by the collections of objects arranged on them, which have been chosen by Gamper from the personal archives of his friends and colleagues. From the beauty of the mundane to the wonder of the relic, these collections give an insight into the inspirations and obsessions of designers.

In the historic powder rooms at the heart of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Gamper has devised two displays. One is an homage to iconic Italian designer Enzo Mari and includes an installation of drawings, notes and designs held down by unusual paperweights collected by him over many years. The other acts as a social space, encouraging visitors to sit at Gamper’s table and on his chairs; to explore an extensive library of contemporary furniture manufacturing catalogues from around the world, and to watch Tati’s Mon Oncle and Alain Resnais’ Le Chant du Styrene (both 1958). These films, along with the earlier pieces of furniture, reveal the contrast between the future of design predicted in the late 1950s and the way it has evolved since.

Martino Gamper’s practice encompasses exhibition design, interior design, special commissions and the design of mass-produced products for the international furniture industry. Constantly looking for new ways to engage with and activate design within our everyday lives, Gamper’s work challenges the boundaries between fine art, design, performance and curation.

design is a state of mind is produced by the Serpentine Galleries in collaboration with Museion, Bolzano, Italy and Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy.
The Serpentine Galleries, Pinacoteca Agnelli and Museion would like to thank the following lenders to the exhibition: Artek; Cassina Showroom, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London; Galleria Rossella Colombari, Milan – Italy; Dexion Storage Systems; ercol Furniture; The Geffrye, Museum of the Home, London; David Gill Galleries; Galerie Rosemarie Jaëger, Hochheim; Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin; The Modern Institute / Toby Webster Ltd., Glasgow; Källemo; Memphis; Nils Holger Moormann GMBH; Nilufar Gallery; USM U. Schärer Söhne AG; and Vitsoe.

Martino Gamper
Martino Gamper (b. 1971, Merano, Italy) lives and works in London. Starting as an apprentice with a furniture maker in Merano, Gamper went on to study sculpture under Michelangelo Pistoletto at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. He completed a Masters in 2000 from the Royal College of Art, London, where he studied under Ron Arad. Working across design and art venues, Martino Gamper engages in a variety of projects, from exhibition design, interior design, one-off commissions and the design of mass-produced products for the cutting edge of the international furniture industry.

Gamper has presented his works and projects internationally, including selected exhibitions and commissions: ’Tu casa, mi casa’, The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2013); ‘Bench Years’, London Design Festival commission, V&A Museum, London (2012); ʻGesamtkunsthandwerk’ (Karl Fritsch, Martino Gamper and Francis Upritchard), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth – New Zealand (2011); Project for Café Charlottenborg, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2011); ‘Bench to Bench’, public street furniture in East London in collaboration with LTGDC (2011); ‘A 100 chairs in 100 Days’, 5 Cromwell Place, London (2007); ‘Wouldn't it be Nice...Wishful thinking in Art & Designʼ, Centre dʼArt Contemporain, Genève (2007). Gamper was the recipient of the Moroso Award for Contemporary Art in 2011, and the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year, Furniture Award in 2008 for his project ‘A 100 Chairs in 100 days'.

Tags: Ron Arad, Martino Gamper, Enzo Mari, Rä di Martino, Michelangelo Pistoletto, M. Pistoletto, Gio Ponti, Francis Upritchard