What is social design and is there such a thing anyway? The term is typically used to label the work of those designers and architects who focus on tasks born out of humanitarian and socio-political issues, and it has often gone hand in hand with moralism and sweeping declarations. In a world growing deficient in both resources and energy, questions regarding inclusion, social justice, and sustainability are becoming more relevant to today’s design than ever before. In the 1960s and 70s Viktor Papanek was among the first to address not only issues of living conditions, class and income difference, but also environmental responsibility. Many designers practicing today carry in their pocket his “little green book” Design for the Real World (1971), which remains the most widely read book about design ever published. The exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum dedicated to the life and work of this prolific author, designer and lecturer is set to re-examine methods, usage and applications of Papanek’s approach to design as a political tool. Both a retrospective and a thematic exhibition, it gathers his manifold drawings, objects, films, manuscripts, and prints, some of which have never before been presented. Drawing upon his inter-disciplinary and collaborative methods, the exhibition forges dialogues between contemporary works from the areas of critical and social design, and radical positions from the 1960s to 1980s, including legendary figures such as George Nelson, Richard Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, or the radical design initiative ‘Global Tools’. Contemporary works from the areas of critical and social design provide insight into Papanek’s lasting impact.
Victor J. Papanek, We are all handicapped (drafted with students in 1969). Section from Big Character Poster No. 1: Work Chart for Designers (1973). | Victor J. Papanek, Tin Can Radio, 1971. | Victor J. Papanek filming the WNED-TV Channel 17 programme Design Dimensions in Buffalo, NY (1961 – 1963). | Victor J. Papanek, The minimal design team (drafted with students in 1969). Section from Big Character Poster No. 1: Work Chart for Designers (1973). | © University of Applied Arts Vienna, Victor J. Papanek Foundation
As a vital instrument for promoting the work of both younger artists and established figures, the main section of the fair will present a comprehensive overview of contemporary positions, with six Brazilian galleries joining together to present contemporary Latin American art, while four Austrian galleries will focus on sculpture. Continuing on the fair’s commitment to experimenting with the modes of display and overturning the expectations of a commercial fair, art berlin will also offer a blizzard of other strands. Galleries such as Sprüth Magers, Galerie Neu and neugerriemschneider are highlighting solo presentations and curated projects, maintaining the fair’s original commitment to a more comprehensive overview of individual artistic practices. Inaugurating the fair’s new Salon format, a large-scale group exhibition curated by Paris-based curator Tenzing Barshee, will bring together works from more then 40 galleries in a customized spatial configuration, designed by the upcoming London-based architect Alessandro Bava. In the close proximity to the main building and as part of the surrounding outdoor park, art berlin will present a number of new sculptures.
Julian Charrière, An Invitation to Disappear – Tenggarong © The artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
“The bright sun was extinguished, morning came and went and came, and brought no day,” noted the Romantic poet Lord Byron in his diary, amidst the general atmosphere of mysterious darkness and cataclysmic desolation that hit the world in 1815. The year when the warm-bright and flaming red pyroclastic flows of hot volcanic debris rolled down the volcano atop the paradise landscape of Indonesian island of Sobwoa, catalyzing one of the world’s biggest natural climate crises. The volcano’s name Tambora, which translates as “an invitation to disappear” ominously signified the dystopian scenario that in its monumental and global impact on landscape, reconciled the sublime beauty and pervasive atrocity. The ensuing “year without summer” aggregated global floods and famines but it also produced unexpected beauty that rose from the ruinous decay. The sunsets changed due to the countless aerosols in the atmosphere, diversifying the spectrum of colours, that would later resurface in the luminous surfaces of J.M.W. Turner and Caspar David Friedrich during this period. Some 200 years later the invitation to disappear confronts the contemporary hyper-industrialized society with anthropogenic dimensions, leaving strange new synthetic forms in the environment that loom with a premonition of “a year without winter.” Through a trans-disciplinary and multifaceted field of research that inventively links geology, biology, physics, history and archaeology, the artist Julian Charrière delves into post-romantic constructions of nature, where deep geological timescales are brought into tension with those of the mankind. Hosted at Berghain, his audio visual performance Invitation to Disappear projects adistant burning image of a synthetic jungle, emerging through a mullti-sensory journey between flickering light and spectral techno, soundtracked by Inland. Julian Charrière will also present a new spatial installation As We Used to Float at Berlinische Galerie.
BALTHUS, THÉRÈSE, 1938 © Balthus, Foto: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource/Scala, Florenz | BALTHUS, LA PARTIE DE CARTES, 1948 – 1950 © Balthus | BALTHUS, PASSAGE DU COMMERCE-SAINT-ANDRÉ, 1952–1954 © Balthus; Foto: Mark Niedermann
The emotionally charged narratives of Polish-French painter Balthus, an anti-modernist beloved by modernists, are poignant, loaded, somewhat cryptical and sensuous. Too often they serve as backdrops to foregrounding the provocative undertones of his infamous mise-en-scénes where young girls recline in between states of dream-like repose and enraptured reawakening. Balthus himself dismissed attributing any perceived eroticism to viewers with unclean minds. What makes his work actual and up-to-date is the way it reconfigures certain moral dilemmas in light of different cultural moments, and raises the question about the role of censorship in relation to artistic freedom. Born Balthasar Klossowski, he cultivated an air of mystery and myth, secluding himself in old-world country houses and castles in France, Italy, and Switzerland. A new retrospective at Fondation Beyeler reaffirms the artist’s long-standing relationship to Switzerland and seeks to expose a multifaceted legacy by bringing to light a broader picture. It seems as if Balthus, who lived through nearly the entire 20th century, delighted in perfecting a visual language that feels outside history, nurturing an eccentric detachment from modernism. Taking the little known and monumental work Passage du Commerce-Saint-Andréas a focal point, the exhibition manifests the artist’s intensive engagement with the dimensions of space and time, as a way of distilling and constructing the relationship between the figure and object. The ethos of our age aspires to respond with action to subjects we find unsettling, disturbing or troubling but the work of art cannot be tamed, only responses to it.
© Thomas Meyer
Berlin is a fascinating yet chaotic whirlwind of clashing architectural sites, with some of its most monumental and distinctive landmarks inherited from the German Democratic Republic era. Distinctively embodying the GDR’s engineering ambitions, Funkhaus is a colossal broadcasting centre and studio complex designed during the 1950s by the distinguished Bauhaus architect Franz Ehrlich. His job was to create the world’s largest and most sophisticated recording facility that promised to be an ideal marriage of German functionality and Eastern decadence. It was constructed to symbolize the virtues of equality, collectivity and openness by bringing a wide array of musical genres under one roof. Red Bull Music Academy is celebrating their 20th anniversary at the historic complex, which has been converted into a creative microcosm. 61 international musicians have been selected to participate in the Academy, they will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, learn new things and expand their musical vocabulary. Design studio New Tendency has created a bespoke furniture collection for the Academy, combining lounge modules, tables and sofas that bring back the essence of Bauhaus design principles and through a poetic and playful tone rejuvenate the functional and rational aesthetic of the interiors. Part of the transformation is an exhibition showcasing Berlin’s established and most promising emerging artists. Hailing from different generations, the artists have been carefully selected by Johann König. The exhibition takes central stage at the Lecture Hall with large-scale paintings by Karl Horst Hödicke, a pioneer of German neo-expressionism and a representative of the New Figuration, depicting Berlin in the decades before and after the fall of the wall.
© Armin Linke, 2013. | Benjamin Bratton, Strelka Institute.
As both a forward-looking movement and a child of its time Bauhaus looked to interconnect various forms of knowledge—technical, scientific, emotional and creative. Workshops at Bauhaus school were known as spaces for creativity and innovation where testing of design prototypes was guided by material and technological experimentation. Today we live in times when the belief in utopian aspirations of modernism has lost its innocence, but the ideals are carried forward and awaiting to be dynamically reformulated in relation to the present situation in society. Project Bauhaus looks to critically examine the ethos of Bauhaus teaching by using its methods. This year’s iteration, Projekt Bauhaus Workshop / Datatopia takes inspiration from the Bauhaus workshop structure in order to explore the emancipatory potential of technology, question the idea of progress and formulate a critique of the present through design. Projekt Bauhaus Workshop has found a fitting home at the site of Floating University, an old, concrete rainwater basin right next to the Tempelhof airfield that has been repurposed into a visionary inner city offshore laboratory for collective, experimental learning. Over the course of four days the guests and the participants will exchange on the current state of research through workshops, lectures, exhibitions and performances. Renowned speakers will include Benjamin Bratton, Keller Easterling, Armin Linke, T’ai Smith, and Eyal Weizman, with on-site artistic interventions specially developed for the occasion by Morehshin Allahyari, Olaf Nicolai and Brave New Alps.
Edit Film Culture!
What is the significance of writing about film, whether in print or online, to the constitution of artistic communities today? Taking Film Culture, the cult publication on avant-garde cinema, founded by Jonas and Adolfas Mekas in 1954, as the central point of reference, Edit Film Culture! curates a multi-faceted programme housed at silent green Kulturquartier. The historic space of the former Wedding crematorium will be activated by an independent yet correlated sequences of talks, screenings, exhibitions and installations. On this occasion a temporary library will be set up, making 79 issues of the magazine available first-hand, with special focus on the 80th issue honouring and bringing to light the fascinating and pioneering figure of feminist filmmaker Barbara Rubin. Drawing on the relevance and legacy of Film Culture as a key source for measuring the pulse of the American avant-garde film, there will be talks by scholars and filmmakers, investigating the historical and social context of its production. A film series at Kino Arsenal will highlight a diversity of artistic approaches to filmmaking associated with the magazine.
Manuel Franke, Colormaster F, 2018. Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
A monumental, 50-meter-long and 2.5-meter-high artwork sweeps along the Städel Garden in Frankfurt. The colossal outdoor sculpture was developed by Düsseldorf-based artist Manuel Franke for the freely accessible garden of the Städel Museum. The Städel Garden will receive a new, physically tangible border through this expansive gesture. Half sculpture and half painting, Colormaster F opposes a curved membrane in bright monochrome colors, delicately inclining over the grassy area that is encircled on three sides by buildings. As an insurmountable obstacle, Franke’s object obscures the usual view, but makes the lawn hill tangible in a completely new way. Colormaster F not only changes the garden in its spatial constellation, but also creates another, additional space within the garden, which is both open and closed. In addition, the artwork invites visitors to play, explore and drift, allowing them to take part in a completely new and interactive experience at the revived Städel Garden. Manuel Franke’s questions always deal with the limits of art and society. In his artistic practice, he frequently performs interventions in space that oscillate between sculpture, installation and image. In doing so, he always works in a site-specific way, incorporating the architectural and urban structures of the environment into his work as well as the political, historical and social context. Consequently, the architecture of the Städel Garden and the Städel Museum become an integral part of Colormaster F, with the sculpture playfully correlating to its architectonic counterpart.
Parallel with Art Basel, the Swiss Design Awards exhibition offers a detailed insight into contemporary Swiss design. From richly diverse areas of photography, graphic design, fashion and textile design, product and industrial design as well as scenography and mediation, the jury will grant 17 Swiss Design Awards to selected participants. Since 2007, in addition to the Swiss Design Awards, the Federal Office of Culture has presented the Swiss Grand Award for Design to individual designers or established firms that contribute to the renown of Swiss design nationally and internationally. Having originated as a means of encouraging, supporting and ultimately honouring the Swiss design scene, the prize communicates and indicates the traditions of Swiss design. This year the winners of the renowned prize this year are textile designer Cécile Feilchenfeldt, manufacturer of professional pruning shears Felco and graphic designer Rosmarie Tissi.
Jean-Vincent Simonet / Adrien Rovero / David Schatz, Sereina Rothenberg from NICE Magazine / sign of Swiss Art Awards and Swiss Design Awards