Somewhat Different – Living more Comfortably by Simplifying Things

The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (IFA), which stands for the Institute of Overseas Cooperation, and curator Volker Albus, prepared the exhibition ‘Somewhat Different - Contemporary Design and the Power of Convention’ at the Tbilisi History Museum, which shows a great diversity of designs diverging from the conventional, illustrated by 106 different items and a total of 148 objects by 67 individual designers and studios, 47 of them based in Germany and 20 in other European countries. The exhibition discusses the objects in terms of function, materials, construction and content references and is being held in the context of the Germany-Georgia Friendship Year.

A bookshelf, a Persian rug, an armchair: these generic terms alone trigger associations relating to the structural, decorative and configurative aspects of the objects. This is why designers deliberately subvert their general, conventional understanding to reveal their absurdity. The designs do not only provoke astonishment, but challenge one to reflect on general expectations and codes of behavior, as well as the referential context of firmly established notions, in order to review traditional fixations. It is such 'breaks from the power of convention' that in their causality document the far-reaching socio-cultural changes which we currently witness in all areas of our daily lives and which manifest themselves in key phenomena such as mobility, migration, changing nutritional habits and more.

The exhibition illustrates the international aspect of this discourse on contemporary design in two respects. First, it complements the works of the 47 German designers and design partnerships with examples by 20 foreign designers from Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. And second, IFA invites every institution wishing to host the exhibition to add objects by designers from its own country who have approached 'conventional' design tasks in a somewhat different way.

The organizer is Goethe Institute. Dr. Stephan Wackwitz, Director of Goethe Institute, Georgia, told guests at the opening, “If you don’t like opera, you can simply not go. If you don’t like reading, you can choose not to pick up a book. But there are directions in art, for instance, design, that comprise the everyday things that are made for each of us. We are very happy to have exhibited them!”

“This is already the second design exposition taking place under the aegis of IFA with the mediation of Goethe Institute,” Lika Mamatsashvili, Director of Tbilisi History Museum, told GEORGIA TODAY. “My favorite painter has always been Toulouse Lautrec, who used to say: ‘you will always win if you simplify things’. This exposition is dedicated to this concept. Life is difficult and we should try to make things easier. For instance, there is a wonderful chair under which a housekeeper can keep the vacuum cleaner. So, it is a chair and a vacuum cleaner at the same time. The latter cannot even be noticed, whilst a woman/man can use it without standing up. There is a nice variety of hangers for different garments that are very simple, too. Looking at them, I think: why didn’t I invent that?!”

“The IFA organizes very interesting expositions in photo, fine arts, design, etc.,” Tamta Gochitashvili, representative of the Goethe Institute Department of Culture, told GEORGIA TODAY. “These exhibitions travel to different countries. After Tbilisi, the exhibition will go to Tashkent. Goethe Institute chooses the exhibits that will be of most interest for Tbilisians, we order them and they send us the works. Our cooperation with Tbilisi History Museum is very tight. For the last 15 years, IFA exhibitions have been held here.”

“Designers perceive art as a moderator between the people and things. This is an exhibition that shows how objects can be applied in a different context. This exposition aims to overcome the homogeneity,” said Volker Albus, curator.

The main plus of the exhibits is that they are very comfortable, and you want to take them all home and fill up your house with them!


WHEN: Until April 15.

Maka Lomadze

16 March 2017 17:27