OMG-GMO at Carwan Gallery
OMG-GMO is a new collection of hand painted ceramic fruit by Paris-based designer Robert Stadler in collaboration with Italian ceramic company Bitossi. The work was featured at Carwan Gallery in Milan during Milan Design Week.
During Milan Design Week, Carwan Gallery presented OMG-GMO a commission by Paris-based designer Robert Stadler of whimsical hand-painted ceramic fruit as functional objects. Curated by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and exhibited in partnership with 5VIE, OMG-GMO, was made in collaboration with the Italian, family owned ceramics company BITOSSI Ceramiche.
OMG-GMO is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on humans and how they engage with the environment, but it also houses more critical reflections on the larger agri-business and genetically modified foods. Using the forms of engineered fruit and vegetables, Stadler designed ten ceramic, hand-painted objects that ironically transform the organic into something structural and functional. The project has been in the making for over two-years, and each piece was meticulously crafted by BITOSSI artisans. A sweet-looking watermelon slice, in fact a representation of a GMO seedless watermelon, serves as a seat for a low stool, plump aubergines are the short legs or wheels on a coffee table, orange carrots transform into a tripod standing lamp, elongated L-shaped courgettes form the support of a shelving unit. The pieces are humorous and visually delightful, yet there are darker tones to the work, the superficiality and subtle abnormalities of them remind us that these ‘perfected’ species are far removed from the wild versions of what they once were. Stadler has often questioned the idea of how and what a functional object can be, pushing form and function into new and often unexpected physical results. Playing between art and design, craft and conceptualism, Stadler questions current issues of the day in a critical and intellectual way.
OMG-GMO also connects to the long history of representation of fruits and vegetables in art history and design – from nature morte to Arcimboldo paintings to the banana phone and perhaps even, the Apple logo. These humble, stables of everyday nourishment take on new meanings, from symbols of death or secrecy to pop art and corporate culture.
OMG-GMO was first presented in the Summer of 2022 at Philip Johnson’s Glass House pavilion in New Canaan, Connecticut. The pop-up in Milan was on view through April 23, 2023. It will soon travel to Carwan’s flagship space in Piraeus, Greece for summer 2023.