A Brief History of Grasping Objects


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


The exhibition presents a fragment of the project “People from the Porcelain Factory” (curators – Ewa Klekot, Arkadiusz Szwed, co-organizer – Polskie Fabryki Porcelany Ćmielów and Chodzież S.A. Project is financed by the National Program for Development in the Humanities).