Over de expositie
The rooms were emptied long ago. Exhibitions have been held here for more than five years and yet the second floor of the Xavier Hufkens gallery has always been thought of by many as “the gallery owner’s apartment”. There’s no doubting that the area exudes a more intimate and cosy atmosphere; the light is warmer. There is a kitchen, a fireplace, memories of a living room with a view out onto old trees and more doors than a gallery would ever need. The interior breathes living although nowadays it’s mostly works of art that are on show. When the space used to be lived in it had just as little chance of escaping being put on show. Works of art were exhibited, placed between the furniture, laid next to the carpet for the sake of the collector and the personal pleasure of the gallery owner. And, since Xavier Hufkens likes to surround himself with beautiful things, this often led to interesting constellations of objects and sculptures, chairs, lamps, mobiles and paintings.
In fact it’s down to this pure, sensual pleasure of looking at and using, displaying and making the most of, living and working in a living cum show room that Xavier Hufkens had been walking around with the idea of putting on a design exhibition in his own home. Rather than follow the latest trend of exhibiting design objects in an art gallery, he preferred to reorganize the original living room and leave it up to the visitor to experience what innovating design is aimed at and brings about. The project took shape in close collaboration with the design and ceramics expert, Pierre Marie Giraud, who soon brought designer Mattia Bonetti (° 1953, Lugano) into the team. Design is a very broad domain where the borders between contemporary plastic and applied arts, between the aesthetic and kitsch sometimes flow unnoticed into one another. Not a single contemporary designer knows how to explore this area so freely and creatively as the renowned Swiss designer, now working out of Paris.
Mattia Bonetti ingeniously combines materials, shapes and stylistic influences. The interiors, tables, cupboards, armchairs, lamps, … of the designer are often described as tangible realizations of a dream world in which primitive and sophisticated elements are successfully coupled to function and decorate. Bonetti is not true to one personal style, instead he refers exhaustively to the past. He draws from both literature as well as from the plastic arts. Quite openly he brings antipoles together and manoeuvres the rules of modernism just as nimbly through them as along the free story line of naturalism. Even though some designs could pass off as kitsch – be that in a glorified form – in the eyes of Bonetti they are simply a part of their times.
Mattia Bonetti’s designs are regularly put on show in cities like Paris, Milan, London and New York. In recent years he has carried out assignments for clients such as the city of Montpellier, the musée d’Orsay, the Maison of Bernardaud, …