Although I do not possess the patience or skill to play a game of chess, I do appreciate the beauty of an old chess set. The Art of Chess, an international travelling exhibition that has just reached Australia and features bespoke chess sets by contemporary artists, takes the art of the chess board to a whole new level. With sets by artists as diverse as Yayoi Kusama and Gavin Turk, it is fascinating to see how each artist has interpreted the brief and incorporated their distinct style into their final design. Barbara Kruger’s signature red, black and white boldly grace her set, subversively deformed plastic figurines dot the landscape of the Chapman brothers’ chess board and Damien Hirst’s sterile minimalism shines through in his installation. If this exhibition doesn’t make chess chic, I don’t know what will.
The Art of Chess is showing at the Bendigo Art Gallery in Victoria until 31 January 2011. It is an ongoing project so keep an eye open for when it comes to a gallery near you next. Find out more on the RS&A Ltd site. The above chess sets are from Tom Friedman, Barbara Kruger and Tracey Emin.