Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s quote “From my close contact with artists and chess players I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists“, The Art of Chess exhibition challenges the former (artists) to engage with the world of the latter (players), by creating intriguing and highly individual chess sets. 16 artists were commissioned by RS&A to produce their variation on the ‘game of kings’, welcoming all interpretations concerning shape and materials, as long as they stay “playable”.

There are some fantastic pieces, including Chapman brothers’ set with pink and brown mannequins (sporting hairdo’s by Vidal Sassoon), Maurizio Cattelan’s Good and Evil set (with hand painted porcelain figures representing people he admires and despises), Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s Deadalive (with bronze sculptures of mummified animals as chess figures) or Paul McCarthy’s kitchen-themed set (created from random objects found in his own kitchen such as a coffee grinder and a ketchup bottle serving as Rooks). McCarthy’s set is apparently also chess champion Garry Kasparov’s favorite.

The Art of Chess runs @ Saatchi Gallery till October 3rd. Photos of nearly all sets are on our Flickr.