April 2010



“… if suddenly (and mysteriously) all the art works of the twentieth Century were to disappear and only a collection of chess pieces survived… art historians would be able to reconstruct all the various trends, styles and movements of the past century quite simply from a study of this collection…” Ernst Strouhal

On occasion of Milan Design Week 2010 and the 49th International Furniture Fair of Milan, ProjectB is proud to present for the first time in Italy The Art of Chess, in partnership with RS&A London, which invited some of the world’s leading contemporary artists to produce the chess sets, previously exhibited in 2009 at the Reykjavik Art Museum.

It was the interest shown by the avant grade in chess that led to the development of artistic chess sets in the first half of the twentieth century. Many were the artists who were also chess enthusiasts – from Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray to Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, André Breton, Isamu Noguchi and Raymond Roussel – and it was back in 1944 that they first joined together to celebrate the game in New York, with the exhibition The Imagery of Chess at the Julien Levy Gallery.

The exhibition in Milan will be featuring seven life-size chess sets designed by the artists Tracey Emin, Tom Friedman, Damien Hirst, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama Alastair Mackie, and Rachel Whiteread.

Tracey Emin presents us with a travel-sized chess set enclosed in a simple cloth bag; Alistair Mackie’s chess pieces each represent an insect – flying insects for the white pieces and ground insects for the black pieces; Rachel Whiteread gives us a more domestic take on the chess set, using miniature furnishings from her own dolls’ house; Yayoi Kusama houses in a leather pumpkin case hand-painted porcelain pieces on top of a board covered in brightly coloured red and black spots on a white and yellow background; Damien Hirst takes inspiration from his own installation Pharmacy; Barbara Kruger invents an audio system through which each piece questions the player at each move; and Tom Friedman treats us to a mini-retrospective of some of his works.

The exhibition will be held in Via Borgonuovo 3, Milan, in the gallery spaces transformed for the occasion into a venue where contemporary art meets design and play.
The show is part of the Fuori Salone agenda of events.