AMSTERDAM – Design and photography unite at the Moooi showroom thanks to an unmissable collaboration with Amsterdam’s Unseen Photo Fair. The brand’s distinctive playful and daring advertisements have long suggested its intrinsic link to the photography world. This month, Moooi goes one step further by hosting the work of artists Isabelle Wenzel and Martine Usborne. From 23 September until 8 October, the Amsterdam showroom and brand store presents its latest collection alongside large photographic prints. The fusion of the two design disciplines results in a surprising dialogue.
The work of both photographers is portrait oriented – but by no means conventional. Moooi chose to combine these works to create a contradiction between subtlety and explicitness. The thread that (albeit loosely) unites the works is an emotional one; they tackle themes inherent in Moooi’s DNA such as ‘unexpected welcome’ and ‘rebellious harmony’.
German-born Isabelle Wenzel combines photography, painting and performance to transform the portrait as we know it. Relying on her acrobatics background, Wenzel twists and bends herself into often incomprehensible positions to create faceless sculptures. Her latest work sees intensely coloured exaggerated brushstrokes cover both the backdrop and her body; the artist either blends into or stands out from the scenery. ‘For the project Paintings, I wanted to become colour, to feel colour,’ says Wenzel. ‘To be red, blue, yellow, green . . . To turn into an object melting into the canvas, to disappear and to be only colour.’
Spanish hunting dogs take centre stage in Martin Usborne’s work. At first glance, his photographs depict what appear to be majestic beasts standing tall and proud. A much darker story lies beneath the surface, however, as Usborne’s muses belong to a group of hunting dogs that are abandoned at the end of the Spanish hare-hunting season. Classical-style backdrops feature those lucky enough to be rescued, while cold empty landscapes – roadsides, riverbeds and ravines – represent where less fortunate dogs are abandoned and go to die. During Unseen Photo Fair, Usborne’s heart-wrenching work will be displayed as large-scale prints for the very first time, intensifying their emotional impact.
This exhibition continues at the Moooi Showroom at Westerstraat 187 in Amsterdam until 8 October 2016. The doors are open from 10am until 6pm.