In Circulation: Artista Studio

Reflections of Contemporary Designers on the Collection of the Museum of Applied Arts

The In Circulation exhibition series was launched by the Contemporary Design Department of the Museum of Applied Arts. In the framework of our series entitled, In Circulation, we have invited contemporary designers, once they have become acquainted with the museum’s rich collection which is unparalleled also internationally, to select an object or ensemble of objects that inspires their own work, and to create something of their own design that reflects upon it.

The design object(s) born from the inspiration of the museum’s collection will also become a part of the collection, which in future will also provide the opportunity for further relations and exhibitions.
The first exhibition in the series is that of Artista Studio, who celebrated the 25th anniversary of their inception in 2018.

Womenswear - 'Alba' portrait of Katalin Imre, Nóra Rácz, Katalin Stampf, András Hajdú, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Artista was created in 1993 by six young designers, and today they are three who comprise the group: Katalin Imre, Nóra Rácz and Katalin Stampf. The designers earned their diplomas at Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design Budapest, but they also studied at the fashion design faculties of the universities in Milan (I) and Brighton (GB).  The designers aim to shape a particular, individual image and mood, and to continuously refresh and update it. They have presented countless independent fashion shows by now, and since 1996 they have also been invited regularly to present within the international fashion events.

Teacup and saucer, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Cup and saucer, with trompe l'oeil engravings and so-called faux bois painted decoration Saucer - With trompe l'oeil engravings and so-called faux bois painted decoration, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Cup and saucer Saucer, with quote from Thomas Moore, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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  Artista Studio selected three teacups from the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, which represent for the designers three different types of women.  

Womenswear - 'Olga' installation view of the exhibitionMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Moodboard about the Design Process

The domestic market is much too small for a fashion house to design for only one type of woman. The Artista designers thus strive for their apparel to be adaptable to different styles and occasions. It is not by chance that the designers immediately associated the teacups with stories and heroines, for whom they named them - Alba, Maya, Olga - and then designed the apparel for these imaginary women.

Teacup and saucer Teacup and saucer (1910-1922) by unknownMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The inspirational source of the Alba outfit, this porcelain tea cup and saucer were manufactured in the Epiag factory founded in the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The porcelain was designed in the 1910s while its art deco ornament was created around 1922.  

Teacup and saucerMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The extremely thin, simple shape is empasised by the smart black lines giving the object a completely modern look.  

Womenswear - 'Alba'Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Womenswear - 'Alba'

Modernity is the main feature of Alba’s personality. This woman is enlightened, emancipated and is an avid contemporary art fan.
The noble, classical silk material of the dress is complemented by the checked pattern, inspired by the cup. It could have been worn in the 1920s so as today.  

Womenswear - 'Alba' detail - Womenswear 'Alba'Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The three prime colours (yellow, blue and red) are magnificently counterpointed by the clean, refined style of the overall.  

Cup and saucer, with trompe l'oeil engravings and so-called faux bois painted decorationMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The source of inspiration for the Maya outfit is this cup made at the Nymphenburg Porcelain Factory in the late 18th century.The realistic, light-colored imitation wood grain and the minute purple (purpure) paintings that appear to be engravings tacked on to the surface of this cup and saucer attest to high levels of technical and artistic skill.

These items with extraordinary ornamentation were considered fine wares that flaunted the mastery of porcelain decorators, and so they were primarily made as ornamental pieces for show.  

The figure of a horseman in the engraving on the cup and the small stone bridge that can be seen in the background of the landscape in the middle of the saucer are painted in a manner that emulates old engravings. Even the damage to the paper is depicted with  such precision that it fools the eye.

Cup and saucer, with trompe l'oeil engravings and so-called faux bois painted decoration Saucer - With trompe l'oeil engravings and so-called faux bois painted decorationMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Painted simulated wood grain decoration had been known since 1760 in French faience wares, where its name faux bois comes from, and in time was also employed by certain German manufacturers.
It was exactly this imitation, moving beyond kitsch, that captured the designers. They started a brainstorming how wood-imitating porcelain could be displayed on textiles.  

Womenswear - 'Maya'Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Womenswear - 'Maya'

So that was how they found the jacquard moiré which is nothing else but a kind of fake moiré silk.  

The tailoring of the elegant purple leather backpack was inspired by a trip to Tokyo. Instead of the traditional horizontal zip line the designers applied a vertical one influenced by oriental vibes.  

Womenswear - 'Maya' detail - Womenswear 'Maya'Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

On the lapel there is a replica of a painting by Gaya Arutyunyan, an Armenian contemporary artist. The color palette of the original painting was adapted to the shades of the porcelain’s purple (purpur).  

An artwork by contemporary artist Tanja Zabina returns on the yoke of the sleeve. With this pattern the designers wanted to illustrate perception at a visceral, cellular level.   

The casual overall is decorated with a tie belt at the waist adding a more laid-back attitude to her look. The imaginary wearer, Maya, loves having fun, doing sports and experiencing her emotions deeply.

Womenswear - 'Maya' detail - Womenswear 'Maya'Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Embroidered Hungarian inscriptions decorate the back of the overall, evoking memories of Maya’s journeys.  

Cup and saucerMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Cup and saucer - With quotes from Thomas Moore

It can be hypothesized that third inspirational object, which has a so-called gobelet litron cylindrical form of early Neo-Classical origin and a distinctive angular handle, as well as its accompanying saucer were made as a special commission, since this type is little known in the range of forms and models from Herend.

Half of the body of the cup and the well of the saucer are covered in an orange-red fond, or uniform base color, which is enlivened by a pattern made of vertical orange, white, gray, and black stripes that runs around the upper section of the cup and the inner lip of the saucer.

Cup and saucer Cup, with quote from Thomas MooreMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

A twist to this elegant decoration made in the Art Deco style is provided by the inscriptions handwritten in black on the objects. It reads on the cup, “Man for his glory, To history flies”...  

Cup and saucer Saucer, with quote from Thomas MooreMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

... and on the saucer, “While womans [sic] bright story, Is told by her eyes.”

  
The source of the quoted lines is the poem “Desmond’s Song” by the Irish-born poet and author Thomas Moore (1779–1852) from his work Irish Melodies. This publication contained  poems set to music and folk ballads and was issued between 1807 and 1834.

Womenswear - 'Olga'Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Womenswear - 'Olga'

Its striped pattern inspired the beach pajama whose silhouette evokes the thirties–forties style. Today it is hard to imagine that women of the last century bathed in such attire, though at that time showing much of the body was not appropriate. Artista Studio envisioned  Olga in a Fiume (now: Rijeka) beach café receiving the cup as a gift from her lover.

The overall is accompanied by two extravagant bags made of mock snake leather.  

Womenswear - 'Olga' detail - Womenswear 'Olga'Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The golden rim of the porcelain is evoked in the glamourous glitter of the tulle top decorated with pearls.  

Womenswear - 'Maya' installation view of the exhibitionMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

We might characterise Artista briefly in this way: uniqueness, individuality, creativity and timelessness. The nature of their collections is an interweaving and reinterpretation of the formal vocabulary of the Far East with classical European tailoring. The designers boldly employ pairings of unusual materials, patterns and palette. Artista apparel and accessories are ageless, and they lend their singular atmosphere, femininity and refined extravagance to those who wear them every day.

Credits: Story

by Judit Horváth, PhD; Melinda Farkasdy; Rita Komporday 
Sarolta Sztankovics (ed.)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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