Foreign Dialogues

Melbourne Design Week 2023
Presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria’s 2023 Melbourne Design Week 
Ben Eastham, editor-in-chief of e-flux Criticism writes: “Art [and design] today is less about the formal or aesthetic properties of an object than a way of talking about the intricately entangled, increasingly unstable world in which we live.” 
Taking this notion of ‘intricately entangled’ as a point of departure, FIN gallery boldly presents a group exhibition titled Foreign Dialogues bringing together both emerging and established voices at the confluence of art and design practices from Australia and Europe. The selected practices, each through their own individual approaches, highlights original approaches to a zeitgeist shift towards material experimentation and process-based design.
 This exhibition marks a new direction for FIN gallery which will move forward with a global outlook showing the work of both artists and collectable design practitioners.
This move has been spearheaded by Gallery Director Dominika Kuthova, who wishes to bridge connections to her native Europe, whilst building upon the success of the gallery’s existing rich history and connections to Australian artists and audiences. The gallery’s mission 2023 and beyond will be to focus on cultural exchange between the two continents. This move also corresponds with the gallery re-assessing its position in the ecology to now springboard forward to explore work by all genders.
In Foreign Dialogues in partner; each practitioner explores a facet of traditional design or craft, but instead of following the predetermined rules of ‘good design’ associated with their chosen medium, they instead challenge the materiality or process present, to emerge with a new result - that whilst having used a traditional process - has come forth with a completely different outcome entirely. 
Theorist Richard Sennett says that "Both art and design require a kind of craftsmanship, a kind of embodied knowledge." Indeed; designers and artists who work in interdisciplinary practices that challenge the perceived value of design are often interested in exploring new ways of thinking about design, creativity, and innovation. They may question the traditional hierarchy of design disciplines and seek to bridge the gap between different fields of knowledge and expertise.
Traditionally, many crafts and design disciplines have established rules and guidelines for what constitutes ‘good design’. While these guidelines can be useful for achieving a certain aesthetic or function, they can also be limiting, conservative or problematic in terms of the scope and potential of both creativity and innovation. By challenging or subverting these conventions and exploring the limits of their materials or processes, practitioners can emerge from the traditional constraints of their medium and can instead create works that are inherently more contemporary.
Foreign Dialogues showcases thrilling examples of ‘the contemporary‘ in international design practice featuring work by Elliot Bastianon (AUS), Marta Figueiredo (AUS/PT), Jordan Fleming (AUS), Laurids Gallee (NL), Anna Jozova (CZ), Jiri Krejcirik (CZ), Caro Pattel (AUS/NZ), Tadeas Podracky (CZ), REM (NL), Joana Schneider (DE) Alicja Stryzynska (PL) Misseu (AUS) and Georgia Weitenberg (AUS) curated by Dominika Kuthova collaboration with artist and designer Marta Figueiredo. In addition, the highly esteemed Rossana Orlandi Gallery, Milan has supported showing the work of Jiri Krejcirik, Anna Jozova and Alicja Strzyzynska; selected works by these designers has also be shown at Rossana Orlandi Gallery, Milan.
In summary, Foreign Dialogues presents exciting and dynamic designers and artists who explore material experimentation and process-based design; who are trading a level of discipline within their practice for chance-based outcomes. But with risk comes reward; their curiosity about interdisciplinary practices is rewarded as they challenge the perceived value of design, here pushing the boundaries of what is possible within the field, and opening up new avenues for creativity, innovation, collaboration and social change.
April 24, 2023