Purling London Art Chess at World Chess HOF photo credit Michael DeFilippo
Purling London Art Chess Knights at World Chess HOF
Photo credit: Michael DeFilippo

Simon Purks and Colm Mulligan at Purling London exhibition photo credit World Chess HOF
Purling’s Simon Purkis and Colm Mulligan at World Chess HOF’s ‘Painted Pieces’ exhibition with Tom Hackney‘s chess set

The prestigious World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis MO, USA hosted a major exhibition from 12th April – 16th September 2018 entitled ‘Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London’.  The show, dubbed ‘Tradition with a Twist’ featured our classic Staunton-design chess sets, hand-painted by twenty celebrated painters, illustrators, sculptors and street artists from around the world.

The exhibition included multimedia Art Chess sets, pieces, boards, and interactive experiences created especially for the World Chess HOF show.

VIDEO INTERVIEW – Masters of the Arts discussion with Bradley Bailey & Simon Purkis (please excuse Simon’s voice, he was under the weather!)
Video credit: World Chess Hall of Fame

Artists who made their debut with Purling include: street art pioneer Thierry Noir who was the first artist to paint the Berlin Wall; internationally known Mr Doodle with a chess set covered in his ‘Graffiti Spaghetti’; and Lhouette with an incredible Maximalist board and frame. We were also excited to introduce a stunning Marcel Duchamp inspired chess set by Tom Hackney; a set entitled ‘Expand your mind’ by Christiaan Nagel – famous for his mushroom sculptures; a beautiful chess board by London street and studio artist Darren John and a wonderfully eccentric, Space inspired playable sculpture by Andrew Hancock.

Further artworks included in the show were by famous American painter Sophie Matisse; feminist and activist Daniela Raytchev; photorealist Kate Brinkworth; stencil artist DS among other celebrated and thought-provoking artists.

World Chess Hall of Fame Thierry Noir chess set
Purling’s Colm with Thierry Noir x Purling ‘Chess Noir’. T. Raymonzrek’s chess table ‘Chemical Warfare’ is shown on the left

The themes explored in the show included:

  • The #metoo campaign and female equality,
  • Plastics in the ocean,
  • Chance verses strategy,
  • Peace (and chemical warfare),
  • The balance between opposites (creation & destruction),
  • Marcel Duchamp (and retinal art),
  • Nativity,
  • Love,
  • Space,
  • The seasons,
  • Maximalism,
  • Life long learning and more

In addition, museum guests were able to play on Purling chess sets in Virtual Reality(!) via our collaboration with video game developer Ripstone. Art Chess sets by artists, Nette Robinson, Olivia Pilling and Mr. Jiver were available to play in spectacular virtual environments including a Roman villa and a volcano. Find out more HERE.

Art Chess by Sophie Matisse x Purling London ‘Alice in Wonderland
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame

Alongside the exhibition were several events, such as ‘Meet the Artist’ with Daniela Raytchev and Nette Robinson’s talk and workshop for specially invited guests to create a unique chess set for the World Chess HOF Collection! Read more about this event HERE.

We were delighted to collaborate with the World Chess Hall of Fame on this exhibition. We would like to thank Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, Shannon Bailey, Michael DeFilippo and all the WCHOF team for their wonderful support.

Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London,
Exhibition ran from: April 12th – September 16th 2018.

World Chess Hall of Fame, 4652 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108, USA.
+1 (314) 367-WCHF (9243) | worldchesshof.org
Follow @WorldChessHOF @PurlingLondon


Further reading: Alongside artists including Barbara Kruger, Yoko Ono and Rachel Whiteread, the World Chess Hall of Fame invited Purling London’s Daniela Raytchev and Crystal Fischetti to exhibit as part of theLadies’ Knight: A Female Perspective on Chess exhibition in 2015.

ARTIST VIDEO INTERVIEW – Masters of the Arts interview with Daniela Raytchev and Vitaly Neimer
Nette Robinson at chess art exhibition
Artist, Nette Robinson presenting her environmental themed Purling chess set ‘Spoils of the Ocean‘. Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
Illuminated stained glass chess table by Daniel Brusatin x Purling
Stained glass chess table ‘Reconciled Dichotomy (Creation v. Destruction)’ by Daniel Brusatin x Purling. Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
WCHOF Expand Your Mind by Christiaan Nagel. Photo credit World Chess Hall of Fame
Art Chess by Christiaan Nagel x Purling London ‘Expand Your Mind’
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame

Feminism chess set - Daniela Raytchev x Purling Glass Ceiling
Daniela Raytchev x Purling ‘Glass Ceiling‘ chess sculpture with VR chess in the background. Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
World's largest chess piece at World Chess Hall of Fame, St Louis
Purling Founder, Simon with the world’s largest chess piece outside the museum
colourful chess set inspired by climate crisis
Art Chess by Nette Robinson x Purling London ‘Spoils of the Ocean
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
children with colourful chess set
Young visitors with Tom Hackney x Purling London ‘Retinal Chess set‘ inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Multi-coloured chess set’
Virtual reality chess at the WCHOF
Playing Purling chess in Virtual Reality via Playstation & ‘Chess Ultra’
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
Paint a Chess Set evening at WCHOF with Yasser Seirawan
GM Yasser Seirawan painting a Purling rook at an artist-led session at WCHOF
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
Mr Doodle chess set
Mr Doodle x Purling London Art Chess ‘Doodle Spaghetti’
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
US Champion GM Fabiano Caruana & friend with Lhouette x Purling Art Chess
US Champion, GM Fabiano Caruana & friends with Lhouette x Purling Art Chess ‘More or Less
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
ARTIST VIDEO INTERVIEW – Masters of the Arts interview with Nette Robinson and Jennifer Shahade

chess sets made from glass
Visitors at the exhibition looking at ‘The Glass Ceiling’ by Daniela Raytchev and ‘Chemical Warfare’ by T. Raymonzrek
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame
Joy Bray, Rex Sinquefield, Shannon Bailey & Tony Rich at World Chess Hall of Fame
World Chess HOF’s Joy Bray, Rex Sinquefield, Shannon Bailey & Tony Rich with Caio Locke x Purling Art Chess ‘Sky Castle
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame

Gwen Camaratta, Daniela Ratchev, Simon Purkis & Colm Mulligan standing by Thierry Noir's Chess set
Gwen Camaratta, Daniela Ratchev, Simon Purkis & Colm Mulligan with Thierry Noir x Purling Art Chess set
Photo credit: World Chess Hall of Fame

a selection of carved chess knights painted by different artists
Studio photography for Painted Pieces Exhibition by Michael DeFililppo

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