The Secret Life of Things in Chinese Art and Design

April 14 – 19, 2010
Salone Internazionale del Mobile – Milan Design Week | project of CDM 2010
Design Library | Milano, IT

curator ::  Beatrice LEANZA
exhibition design ::  LI Naihan
catalogue design ::

Introduced within the framework of CDM 2010, the exhibition is conceived as a wondrous journey into contemporary object-scapes through the creative processes of a young generation of 30 Chinese independent designers, artists and studios as a way to explore both formally and conceptually the micro-fields of everyday life. These formal experimentations often resort to natural materials and textiles, paper, wood and bamboo, and to different ways for revisiting traditional techniques, formats and forms of image-making, therefore rethinking the way they continue to mediate a sense of proximity to the social, the subjective and the philosophical. In bringing together these experiences the present appears as an ahistorical shelter where illusion and artifice are granted an essential purpose that is to induce us in a state of suspended reading, “native in some way to the primary function of inhabiting” (G. BACHELARD). With the aim to create a connection to their original context of production the exhibition design transforms the darkened room at DesignLibrary into a theatrical stage-set drawn upon the floor plan of a prototypical modern Chinese household, a symbolic remake of a changed sense of domestic, private space in contemporary urban society. This built form realized as an abstract structure of white walls (polystyrene) and floor lines as seen in architectural drawings, is a calculated reproduction of an 80 sqm apartment with a small night garden. By wondering these rooms the visitors are taken into a filmic detour into the personal life and visual histories behind the designers while discovering the minutiae of everyday worlds in continuous change.