Expresso Yourself

In a world swimming with cookie-cutter coffee stores and complicated things like soya-skinny-frappuccinos, it’s easy to forget coffee’s association with culture. However, from Blur’s Coffee and TV, to Van Gogh’s Woman Grinding Coffee, to Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes; the links between our caffeinated friend and the arts are intangible.

Strengthening those bonds even further is the Galleria illy set to open in London this September. Far from a normal coffee shop, the temporary exhibition space will host to a programme of design, art, literature, science and food events.  

The artistic direction for the space is courtesy of Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, featuring a range of his own works alongside those from his Foundation, Cittadellarte, which aim to create a link from London to the Mediterranean and Africa.

Michelangelo Pistoletto - Love Difference table sketch
Michelangelo Pistoletto – Love Difference table sketch

One such African artist is Cameroonian Alioum Moussa, who will be creating the Galleria’s staff uniforms. The project will see him using use second-hand clothes originally sent to Africa but unsuitable for the climate, reworking them with hand embroidery and graphic design to create highly original outfits.

Pistoletto's Love Difference Table
Pistoletto’s Love Difference Table

To whet your appetite for food as well as culture, Cittadellarte will be on hand to provide edible artworks as part of the Love Difference Pastries project, which invited artists, confectioners and chefs to create sweets that aim to unite cultures through the power of the pudding.

Cittadellarte’s Love in a Different Kefte chocolates
Cittadellarte’s Love in a Different Kefte chocolates

Artist Francesco Clemente will be providing his own take on the traditional expresso cup, following in the footsteps of an all star coffee-cup creating cast including Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, David Byrne and Pedro Almodóvar.

from the Berlin Galleria illy
from the Berlin Galleria illy

In a bizarre twist, Marina Abramovic – a performance artist perhaps best known for nearly dieing during a performance where she leapt across a large petroleum drenched, flaming star – will also be involved in the project. Sadly we currently have no idea as to in what capacity, but something tells us it may not be in the kitchen.

Galleria illy will run from 12 September – 16 October 2011 at flos and moroso, 15 Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R

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