Designers reinterpret The Games
Olympics, Olympics, everywhere. But whether you’re already sprinting about in anticipation or intending to hide under a large PE sick note for the duration, an exhibition of beautiful Games-inspired pieces at Gallery Libby Sellers shows that the event can be seen in a more lateral way.
While the Olympics celebrates very physical pursuits, this show focuses on quieter games– looking at the more genteel sports of chess, board games and salon events.
The show, neatly entitled Games, has brought together a number of brilliant furniture and product designers to craft their own versions of chess boards, board games and games salon furniture.
Designers exhibiting work include aberrant architecture, Fabien Cappello, Studio Frith, Alexander Gelman, Paul Kelley, Julia Lohmann, Peter Marigold and Rolf Sachs.
The exhibition, which is being designed by Studio Frith, is inspired by a show held the Julien Levy Gallery in New York back in 1944. For the exhibition, Levy, Max Ernst and Marcel Duchamp invited a sparkling list of Modernist artists including Arshile Gorky, Man Ray, and Robert Motherwell to submit specially designed chess sets, art works, musical scores and furniture.
The Levy show, The Imagery of Chess, brought together works from 32 artists: a number carefully chosen as there are 16 pieces to a side on a chessboard. The exhibition opening featured a chess game organised by Marcel Duchamp, in which acknowledged chessmaster George Koltanowski played blindfolded against seven artists, beating all of them except the architect Frederick Kiesler, with whom he drew.
Throughout the show, visitors could also participate in a series of salon events including chess tournaments – something that will be replicated in the Gallery Libby Sellers show.
As well as these salon events, Games will also debut a chess -inspired musical composition written by Hannah Kendell and performed specially for the exhibition by Andrew Matthews-Owen with the support of the Richard Thomas Music Foundation. The opening of the show also, handily, coincides with the British Chess Championships.
Games runs from 4 July – 18 August at Gallery Libby Sellers, 41-42 Berners Street, London WlT