Intersections between art and design in Personal Structures

The fusion of art and design tells a story, portrays emotions, and interprets reality from different perspectives. The result of this combination echoes the artist and designer’s creativity and inner world, reflecting current developments and imaginaries. Some even erase the line between art and design, producing works that embody a variety of techniques and are open to new aesthetics.

In the sixth edition of Personal Structures, some exhibitors work at the intersection between art and design, showcasing artworks that are experimental and multidisciplinary. The European Cultural Centre is proud to present a variety of pieces that go beyond the canonical definition of art and design, and become the result of a dialogue between the two disciplines. 

Andrea Vinkovic at Palazzo Mora | Photo credits: Chiara Dalla Rosa

Sculptural Glass and Aluminum Pieces

In the historical venue of Palazzo Mora, Jacques Jarrige presents an installation that invites visitors to explore it with a contemplative gaze. The artist embraces the raw material and uses its potential shaping it, hammering it, and letting the aluminium guide him in the creation of his sculptures. A short film capturing Jacques’ meditative creative process accompanies the installation, revealing how the presence of the body has always been implied in his work. The artwork, therefore, is experienced by the artist at first while sculpting it, and then by the viewer who becomes an active participant to the work.

Participatory is also an important element in the sculptural creation of Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio titled Spheres, the second part of Il Primo cerchio del Paradiso. The delicate installation is, in fact, the result of a workshop that Hans-Petter Bjørnådal, Lead Architect at the firm, conducted in 2021 with students both from Venice and Kristiansund. The project’s starting point is the sea with the see-through glass spheres taking inspiration from fish eggs which represent life and hope - it implies what the architect thinks is needed in a world filled with dystopian imageries of the future. The sculpture addresses current issues such as climate change, environmental consciousness, and the merits of returning to a simpler way of life. “The project is a Norwegian gesture of simple living, but also a reflection of our current need for a shift in direction and consciousness in order to address climate change,” explains Hans-Petter Bjørnådal.

Glass is also the main material of the sculptures presented by Helen Twigge-Molecey at Palazzo Mora. Fungi is a collection of hand-blown glass sculptures that shine a spotlight on the magical world of mushrooms and encourage us to reconsider our relationship with our surroundings and each other. Fungi can digest plastics and toxic waste or survive unprotected in space or that their psychedelic properties could alleviate mental illness. The artist placed the sculptures in clusters on a pedestal, to resemble how they often grow in nature. Each colourful sculpture is characterised by a different shape and look, thus each of them is unique with its own personality. 

Jacques Jarrige at Palazzo Bembo | Photo credits: Federico Vespignani

Spheres Workshop | Photo credits: Geir Morten Karlsen

Fungi 2022, Helen Twigge-Molecey | Photo credits: Federico Vespignani

Ceramic forms

Andrea Vinkovic’s work is also inspired by the natural environment, specifically to its organic beauty and its delicate balance. Additionally, she’s interested in exploring personal and archetypal symbolism of visual language, and intrigued by parallels with the cultural environment. Her ceramic sculpture at Palazzo Mora is shaped by looking at microscopic images of pollens and planktons, corals and natural structures. The artist is intrigued by the rhythm and playfulness of these forms, which simultaneously are particularly complex and multi-layered in their structures. She plays with the idea that natural objects on different scales share the similarities and visual language we intuitively recognise and respond to: we are made of the same materials and share the same origins and environment.

Nature and clay are common elements in Kwak Hye-Young’s work. Through her conceptual practice, the South-Korean artist blurs the boundary between ceramics and fine art. The artist explores the ideas of becoming and existence, following the fleeting moments of the rain as it emerges into life only as it falls, to its transformation and dissipation as it lands. Kwak records this presence with boards of clay layered with cobalt, chromium and iron oxide which she places in locations such as her own garden and the city streets of Seoul. The rain falls and, as the drops land and combine they form rivulets, pools and washes, the movements all caught by the oxides and clay. Like a photographic film, the material captures the movement of the natural element creating a poetic and meaningful art piece.

Detail of Emergence, Andrea Vinkovic

Seeing the sound of rain, 2021, Kwak Hye-Young | Photo credits: Matteo Losurdo

Textiles artefacts  

Exploring craft through a different lens are Zakaria Rugs which founder Philip Rosenberger has created as a space of harmony, collaboration, and innovation, with the aim to restore the commitment to handcrafted goods. The brand is currently collaborating with international artists such as Lamas Burgariotti, Fred Heinsohn, and Frances Violet McBain whose rugs have been showcased at Palazzo Mora alternatively during the duration of Personal Structures.

Lamas Burgariotti’s creation centres around their own culture, hence their rug explores national symbolism through the Mapuche Tribes, located in Chile and Argentina. Meanwhile, Heinsohn’s explores the footprint, the sole of a sneaker as the design foundation, using texture and thread height to represent the imprint. And Frances Violet McBain focuses on domestic sounds and their visual outputs which are recorded around the environment of the rug.

In addition to the collaborations, the ‘PCB’ (printed circuit board) rug, inspired by the first computer motherboards, illustrate paths and islands coming alive through different heights and textures on the grey flat tapestry-woven rug base. Zakaria Rugs proposes the rug as a new medium for expression, to create synthesis between tradition and innovation, between high-end, durable, hand-made rugs and contemporary art.

Zakaria Rugs at Palazzo Mora | Photo credits: Philip Rosenberger

Textile narratives are seen also present in Ian Hagarty and Danny Kaufmann’s collaborative project. Professors of Art and Design at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, seek to share the story of their country’s first and only national park. The identity of West Virginia is closely connected to the landscape. The collaborative work is an amalgamation of fragmented, manipulated, and layered visual artefacts created by the artists since the park’s designation. The resulting artwork doesn't depict a traditional vista or scenic outlook, but rather a heterogeneous composition made up of disparate remnants of shared experiences that represent the park’s complex narrative. The artists’ separate artistic sensibilities, materials, and methods are digitally and physically interwoven to generate a hybrid form of photography and painting that celebrates this moment in the park’s history. 

Hrachya Vardanyan utilises traditional carpet aesthetics for his installation titled crack{s}. The work presents the carpet as a messenger within cultural and individual experiences. The carpets become a common ground to navigate within rich and diverse landscapes which are free of imprisoning dogmatism or ideology. The artist engages with the carpet but without its usual references – symbols, pattern, narratives – that could provide clues for identification. Instead, Vardanyan's paintings refer to the ‘carpet’ metaphorically as markers of time and space in which the transcendental may blossom from within and begin to communicate. His paintings possess a suggestiveness, at once organic and alive in texture, yet transparent by nature of their ethereal presence.

A Shared Reverence, 2021, Ian Hagarty and Danny Kaufmann | Photo credits: Federico Vespignani

crack{s}, Hrachya Vardanyan | Photo credits: Federico Vespignani

Experiencing colours

Designer’s Lori Weitzner is best known for her contributions to the world of textiles, yet for her project at Palazzo Mora she decided to explores the many gears we all move through in the course of our lives: work, reflection, rest, levity, passion, love, associating each of them with ten colour worlds. Her installation Ode to Color is a multi-sensory experience through which the spectator is invited to answer eighteen engaging questions and discover which colour resonates most for each of us and can help enhance the way we live at home and at work. Colours speak to our senses on an emotional level, influencing our moods, conjures associations, evokes memories, decorates our lives and simply speaks to who we are. It is a basic form of self-expression.

Ode to Color, 2022, Lori Weitzner | Photo credits: Federico Vespignani

The multilayered ‘stories’ displayed at Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo, and Marinaressa Gardens are the result of multiple research that artists and designers have been developing over the past few years and that nowadays become even more representative of our culture and society. Mainly inspired by nature and the matter itself, artists explore a variety of materials such as aluminium, glass, clay, textile, and colours to find unique ways to present artefacts that are meaningful, aesthetically pleasing and reflective of current ideas and concepts investigated in the realm of contemporary art and design.


You can visit the artists' installations at Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo, and Marinaressa Gardens until the 27th of November or discover his work by exploring the virtual tours online. Visit their profiles online to discover more about each participant.

Intersections between art and design in Personal Structures

The fusion of art and design tells a story, portrays emotions, and interprets reality from different perspectives. The result of this combination echoes the artist and designer’s creativity and inner world, reflecting current developments and imaginaries. Some even erase the line between art and design, producing works that embody a variety of techniques and are open to new aesthetics.

  • Published: 03.11.2022
  • Category: In Focus
  • Subject: Participants
  • Share: Facebook, Twitter

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