meissen by SO – IL

This exhibition is so great because it’s so unexpected. Brooklyn-based firm SO – IL (Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu) was commissioned by the Kunsthal KAdE in The Netherlands to design an envelope for the display of a Meissen porcelain collection on view until the end of August.

SO – IL likes to call Meissen “high-class kitsch.”  It’s very traditional in style, (think Lladró with a lot more detail) but the technique and the colors are truly beautiful. The porcelain was developed by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (talk about a mouthful of a name!) in 1708, making it the first hard-paste porcelain house in Europe. This was a huge deal at the time, since the Chinese had managed to successfully keep their porcelain secrets for hundreds of years before the West even attempted to replicate it.

The colored glass and sharp angles force you to look at the work in a different way. Certain aspects of the pieces are isolated,  which help the viewer appreciate the technique of these masterpieces. Even if you’re not a fan of porcelain, or think it’s too old school, the history behind it is fascinating, and this exhibition really helps you push your own boundaries in understanding and appreciating the work.

SO -IL talks about the vitrines:

“The cases trigger the visitor to literally ‘revisit’ their initial understanding of the objects in the exhibition. By designing the cabinets not to ‘display’ but to actually ‘dissect’ the conventional viewing of the object, the visitor is forced to redefine its relationship to the work. The organization of color, shape and material reduces the individuality of pieces and their object-like character, to create a more fluid and visceral experience. It is a transition from object to experience, and shows architecture’s potential to act as a mediator in this process.”

Photos via SO -IL 

Kunsthal KAdE

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