Less is a Bore: Reflections on Memphis

Curated by Julia Höner

KAI 10 | Arthena Foundation Düsseldorf
October 29, 2016 – February 11, 2017
Opening Reception: October 28, 2016, 7 pm

Provocative and in love with decor, a challenge to all-powerful Modernism and animated by architecture – this is how Memphis design made a name for itself at the beginning of the 1980s. Less is a Bore. Reflections on Memphis presents the design universe of the Italian group and its predecessors in relation to works by international artists, spanning a historical timeline into the present.

The exhibition illuminates the role of Memphis as a reference-laden, postmodern play with materials, forms and their functions that permeates the boundaries between art, architecture, design and everyday culture. Traces of this approach are still discernible in art today. Less is a Bore sketches the history of a style that draws on the phenomenon of mass culture as well as fashion and cultural history and exhibits a clearly obsessive enthusiasm for the expressive power of surfaces. The Memphis characteristic of tilt effects and the ambiguity in appearance between a can and a creature, between furniture and figurative form especially resonate with those art works in the exhibition, which change between architectural model and autonomous, aesthetic illusion. Furthermore, the works of art in the exhibition occuping a latent proximity to the commodities of our everyday lives and thus playfully challenging our ideas about function link back to Memphis.

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