“The skin reads the texture, weight, density and temperature of matter. The surface of an old object, polished to perfection by the tool of the craftsman and the assiduous hands of its users, seduces the stroking of the hand. It is pleasurable to press a door handle shining from the thousands of hands that have entered the door before us; the clean shimmer of ageless wear has turned into an image of welcome and hospitality. The door handle is the handshake of the building. The tactile sense connects us with time and tradition: through impressions of touch we shake the hands of countless generations.”
Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin. Architecture and the Senses, Great Britain 2005
Put your hand into your pocket and grab any object that you keep inside. Hold it in your hand for a minute. That is all the time you need to read this introduction. The exhibition HAND-TO-HANDLE. A Brief History of Grasping Objects will show you different aspects of an activity, that you perform thousands of times every day without even thinking about it.
HAND-TO-HANDLE. A Brief History of Things’ Grasping is an exhibition presenting a family of handles designed by the Warsaw interior architect Ola Munzar. The brand’s name – Plankton – embodies their diversity and emphasizes the unique beauty of every single one of them. Before creating Plankton, Ola spent many years working with interiors and she had developed a deep affection to the detail, that builds the character of the inhabited space. Handles – the secondary heroes of our everyday life, often overlooked and experienced mostly unconsciously – rarely become the subject of deeper analyzes. Therefore, we decided to pay them due attention. We present the handles and grips in the narrative context of the art history, studies on the physiology of the human body or the popular mindfulness concept. In this brief history of grasping things we found and showed several distinctive features for our species. At the same time the physical nature of the handles, grips and knobs was described. With several examples we present a material evidence of the interaction, that occurs between our hands and the objects. Throughout the exhibition short narrations about the ergonomics and characteristics of the handles get combined with a view into the exchange happening between a designer and a craftsman.
At this point it is worth mentioning, that the act of grasping is one of the very first acts we perform in our life. We master it relatively quickly. In grasping, we rely on the habits and the memory of our body, since we do thousands of gripping movements every day. We become conscious of them only when some part of this routine does not work as usual.
Handles and grips act as the mediators between our hands and the object we actually reach out to. They facilitate our task, but they also play a symbolic role in our everyday life. Made with great care, they use skin receptors to give us – handle-to-hand – a pleasure of an enjoyable touch.
The exhibition was organized by Sztuka w Mieście Foundation (Art in the City) in cooperation with Targi Rzeczy Ładnych, as a project dedicated to the promotion of Polish designers. Selection of the designers took place as part of an open-call competition conducted among exhibitors of Targi Rzeczy Ładne in December 2017.
Curator: Katarzyna Roj
Co-curator, coordinator: Karolina Wlazło-Malinowska
Designer (Plankton brand): Ola Munzar
Artistic design of the exhibition: Ola Munzar, Marta Zimińska
Graphic design: Magda Jaszczuk
Organizer: Fundacja Sztuka w Mieście, Ghelamco Poland
Partner: Targi Rzeczy Ładnych
Patronage: Faculty of Interior Design at Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
08.03. – 11.05.2018