Synesthesia: Curated by Daniele Balice and Jay Ezra Nayssan

M+B is pleased to announce SYNESTHESIA, a group exhibition curated by Daniele Balice, co-founder of the Paris gallery BaliceHertling, and Jay Ezra Nayssan. The exhibition will be on view from June 29 to August 31, 2012, with an opening reception on Friday, June 29 from 6 to 8 pm.


France, 1926: Architect and designer Robert Mallet-Stevens is at the height of his career and is invited to speak at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. During this lecture, Mallet-Stevens sets forth eight theoretical reflections he has developed thus far in his career.

Not only was Mallet-Stevens the most prominent architect of his generation, he was also the first official set designer of the film industry as well as a member of the “Club des Amis du 7ème Art” (Members of the 7th Art), which was founded by Ricciotto Canudo.

At his presentation at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier, Mallet-Stevens begins by highlighting how theater set design differs from that of cinema. Set design in a theater has the liberty to be figurative whereas in film it must be more realistic. “In cinema, the set designer must be more of an architect than a painter,” explains Mallet-Stevens.  He continues on to discuss about the correct colors, lighting, textures and even the type of art that a designer should feature on a film set.  

Synesthesia takes this lecture as its starting point, but does not follow the strict rigor of it. Instead of creating an exhibition from a curator’s point of view, Synesthesia is created from a set designer’s point of view – it is the assemblage of furniture, art and objects in an environment that has the ambition to look truly personal, but is in fact completely artificial.

The exhibition, therefore, offers the opportunity for viewers to question the idea of collecting art. By displaying art in their private spaces, are collectors playing a character? Creating a neutral environment where pieces of art and furniture of differing values and time periods are set beside each other also experiments with our perceptions of value and worth of objects. It is through these various reflections and observations that viewers are simultaneously spectators and actors.  

With this, the installation becomes an interdisciplinary experience, and the individual objects no longer have their particular historical context. Just like a real collector’s home, the set reflects the need to accumulate and treasure objects, and questions the value we attach to them. Or after all, this could all be just fiction.


Participating artists include Michael Anastassiades, Anonymous, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Isabelle Cornaro, Jacopo da Valenza, Lucy Dodd, Thomas Dozol, Paul Dupré-Lafon for Hermès, Terje Ekstrom, Piero Fornasetti, Guido Gambone, Martino Gamper, Eileen Gray, Hadrien Jacquelet, Lisa Jo, Alex Katz, Allison Katz, Antonio Lopez, Stewart MacDougall, Alexander May, MissoniHome, Carlo Mollino, Paul P., Ico Parisi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Charlotte Perriand, Gaetano Pesce, Pablo Picasso, Gio Ponti, ROLU and Yves Saint Laurent.