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Exhibition: ‘Cambio’ by Formafantasma at the Serpentine Galleries

Text by CLOT Magazine

Cambio, Formafantasma. Tropenbos Colombia (Museo de la Madera, Bogota, Colombia, 2019). Photo credit: Simon Ballen

Formafantasma returns to the Serpentine Galleries in London with their upcoming exhibition Cambio, the third exhibition of design in the Serpentine’s history, following Formafantasma’s participation in Serpentine’s Radical Kitchen Live Programme and the Work Marathon in 2018. Cambio, from the medieval Latin cambium, ‘change, exchange’, is an ongoing investigation into wood products’ extraction, production and distribution. Situated between the sourcing of raw materials and processes of production, the discipline of design occupies a vantage point from which to observe and critique timber’s global infrastructure and its multiple scales. This exhibition questions the design’s role in translating emerging environmental awareness into informed, collaborative responses. 

Formafantasma said: Cambio is an attempt to expand our understanding of what design can be, going beyond the finished object in order to include its disciplinary boundaries: forestry techniques and timber legislations then become tools for designing a better future for our forests; scientific knowledge goes hand-in-hand with environmental activism in fighting illegal logging, and the equilibrium of trans-national geopolitics is redefined in the struggle between conservation and consumption.

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin are Formafantasma, an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam. Their work examines the design’s ecological and political responsibilities while probing the global industries that consume natural resources. Formafantasma has been commissioned by various partners, including Fendi, Max Mara, Hermès, and Lexus. Their work has also been published internationally and has been acquired by museum collections such as MoMA, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. 

Cambio marks a new chapter in Serpentine’s programme, embracing radical approaches to design and developing a platform for practitioners who operate between the traditional disciplines of design, contemporary art, and research. The catalogue will be co-published by the Serpentine Galleries and Koenig Books, London and designed by Joost Groetens. Project collaborators include Emanuele Coccia (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) Environmental Investigative Agency, Gaia Amazonas, Magnifica Comunità della Val Di Fiemme, Marco Carrer (University of Padua) Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Philipp H. Pattberg (Vrije Universiteit) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Royal Museum, Thünen Institute, and the Victoria And Albert Museum. 

The exhibition opens on 4 March and will be on view until 17 May.

(Media courtesy of Serpentine Galleries)
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