ICH und DU
MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2022
Exhibition by MATTER of COURSE
Curated by Anna Carnick & Wava Carpenter – Anava Projects
Supported by Dr. Hauschka
Location: 5vie Via Cesare Correnti 14, Milan
Date: 7-12 June 2022
On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2022, the new, Berlin-based all-female design collective MATTER of COURSE makes its international debut with the group exhibition “Ich und Du.” The curatorial duo Anava Projects conceived a special thematic concept for the event, inviting the collective’s eleven designers to create work that reflects on the relationship between the self and others. The resulting exhibition, Ich und Du, will be presented from June 7-12 as part of 5VIE Design Week, and is supported by pioneering natural cosmetic brand Dr. Hauschka.
Ich und Du features objects handcrafted in glass, wood, clay, textiles, and metal, presented in a series of unexpected vignettes that encourage each of us to consider the art — and power — of interaction, both with our fellow humans and the natural environment. The exhibition takes its name from philosopher Martin Buber’s 1923 essay, Ich und Du (I and Thou), in which Buber posits that “All actual life is encounter.” At the heart of his text, Buber urges readers to overcome this divisive notion of “the other” to fulfill the potential of our humanity, find happiness, and bring about justice.
Curators Anava Projects note: “Against the backdrop of the past few years, our interconnectedness with one another has taken on a new sense of urgency. At a time when both human rights and our environment are under great threat, we can find ourselves at a great distance from one another, both physically and metaphorically. Every one of us is called to reflect upon our own responsibilities within our local and global communities. By bridging divides, we create space for change, and even, perhaps, new versions of ourselves. This exhibition is intended to spark reflection on the spaces between us — and the connections that bind us together.”
According to Nicoline Wöhrle, Dr. Hauschka’s Head of Communications, “We’re thrilled to help support this special exhibition — particularly in light of Anava Project’s timely and powerful curatorial concept. As a company and a foundation, we’ve always believed it’s imperative that we grow with our surrounding communities — to reconcile the need for growth and security with our commitment to respecting and honoring the people and places around us. The social, environmental, and collaborative values of MATTER of COURSE beautifully align with Dr. Hauschka’s own dedication to fostering a culture of care and health for all of humanity and the Earth. We are most successful when we come together.”
These shared values are on display within Ich und Du’s evocative scenography as well as the exhibited design pieces. Designer Nicolene van der Walt’s sculptural woodwork, for example, born of her memories of spectacular thunderstorms in her native South Africa and the creatures they activated, serve as a reminder of the countless relationships, surprises, and often overlooked beauty that exist in the natural world. Milena Kling’s three dimensional, mouth-blown mirrored sculptures, meanwhile, expand their surroundings while also distorting our personal reflections, demanding viewers use fresh eyes to reconnect to themselves and the surrounding environment.
Designer Mareike Lienau’s pieces — all handmade in a Fairtrade project in Nepal, using socially and environmentally responsible materials and processes celebrate time honored craftsmanship and the inherent beauty of natural fibers, while also encouraging reflection on socio-ecological responsibilities. Her handspun Ryoan-ji-Object, in particular, inspired by the rock gardens of the Japanese Zen temple Ryōan-ji, comments upon the ever-present blindspots in any human interaction. Elisa Strozyk’s latest works — the wooden-textile ORI Screens and ceramic and metal FLUID fountains — continue the designer’s penchant for innovative material and formal experimentation, resulting in poetic pieces that symbolize points of contact among individuals. Set within an elegant apartment in a 19th century building in the heart of Milan’s popular 5VIE neighborhood, each room is itself a collaborative space, featuring work by multiple designers in conversation together.
Strozyk says, “We founded MATTER of COURSE at the height of the pandemic as a dedicated platform through which to nurture community and thoughtful creativity. MATTER of COURSE strongly believes that mutual support and interdisciplinary exchanges are necessary if we’re to grow as a community—and to do our part to drive the design world’s urgently needed change in values. Ich und Du is a manifestation of this vision. We are very proud to debut this exhibition in Milan with our likeminded, esteemed collaborators, Anava Projects and Dr. Hauschka.”