Politics of Design, Design of Politics
Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum, Munich
– 29 September 2019
In 2015 the Neue Sammlung launched an exhibition series on contemporary positions in design, starting with Konstantin Grcic. Now in its fourth year, the series continues with a focus on the architect, designer, and theoretician Friedrich von Borries in an exhibition entitled “Politics of Design, Design of Politics”.
The title says it all. Friedrich von Borries holds up a political mirror to design, questioning the power dynamics inherent to all design objects, but also asking how design itself can contribute to changing these political realities. Following his predecessors Konstantin Grcic, Werner Aisslinger, Hella Jongerius and Louise Schouwenberg, von Borries is the first artist to not only have the Paternoster Hall at his disposal, but also the rooms of the permanent collection. This allows him to make interventions in the collection and break down museum boundaries. For example, von Borries invited visitors via open call to bring objects into the exhibition themselves, where they are then displayed alongside design classics. He refuses to accept the economic power dynamics pervading design: so, for example, without hesitation, he replaced Mies van der Rohe’s MR 20 (1927) with a copy that everyone could afford to buy. He also takes a critical look at his own works and questions his role as a politically active designer.
In line with the slogan “Re-Design Democracy”, the exhibition is working with the Federal Agency for Civic Education to explore the possibilities of changing politics through design. As part of this initiative, interested citizens, activists, designers, artists, and scientists will be invited to four workshops. The outcomes will be documented both in the exhibition and on the museum’s social media channels. The exhibition can be seen in Munich until 29 September 2019.
In addition to the workshops, the accompanying programme includes guided tours and talks. You can find more detailed information about the dates here.