Objects of Desire Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today at Vitra Design Museum

Key Visual for the exhibition »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 - Today« Daniel Streat/Visual Fields © Vitra Design Museum, Bocca sofa: © Gufram/Studio65
Until January 19, 2020
Surrealism was one of the most influential art movements of the twentieth century. Everyday objects played a central role in its dreamlike imagery: they were alienated, ironized, or combined to create curious hybrids. This led to the creation of numerous key works of modern art, from Marcel Duchamp’s »Bicycle Wheel« (1913) to Salvador Dalí’s »Lobster Telephone« (1936). In reverse, Surrealism also exerced a decisive influence on the evolution of design. On 28 September 2019 the Vitra Design Museum will open a major exhibition that offers a comprehensive look at the dialogue between Surrealism and design. For the first time, it will unveil the extent to which Surrealism has influenced design of the past 100 years – from furniture and interiors to graphic design, fashion, and photography. The exhibition will include works by Gae Aulenti, BLESS, Achille Castiglioni, Giorgio de Chirico, Le Corbusier, Salvador Dalí, Dunne & Raby, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Ray Eames, Front, Frederick Kiesler, Shiro Kuramata, René Magritte, Carlo Mollino, Isamu Noguchi, Meret Oppenheim, Man Ray, Iris van Herpen, and many others.
Surrealism was founded by André Breton with the first Surrealist manifesto of 1924 and quickly became an international movement that included writers, artists, and filmmakers. The subconscious, dreams, obsessions, chance, and the irrational were just a few of the sources the Surrealists used to create a new artistic reality. In the 1930s Surrealism began to influence design as well, and by the 1940s, it had become a trend that shaped fashion, furniture, and photography, making it onto the covers of »Harper’s Bazaar« and »Vogue«. To this day Surrealism is providing designers with manifold inspirations, whether motifs drawn from its fantastic imagery, its subversive approach, or its interest in the human psyche.
Vitra Design Museum
Until 19 January, 2020
Salvador Dalí, Mae West’s Face which May be Used as a Surrealist Apartment, 1934/35 © bpk/The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY, copyright for the works of Salvador Dalí: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/VG BildKunst, Bonn 2019
Iris van Herpen, Syntopia look 7, F/W 2018, Courtesy of Iris van Herpen, Netherlands, photo: Yannis Vlamos
Victor Brauner, Espace psychologique, 1939 © akg-images, copyright for the works of Victor Brauner: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Le Corbusier, roof apartment for Carlos de Beistegui, Paris, 1929–31 (published in Plaisir de France, March 1936) © Vitra Design Museum, copyright for the works of Le Corbusier: © F.L.C/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Le Corbusier, Ozon III, 1962 © F.L.C/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Jasper Morrison, interior design for Capellini, 1992 Courtesy of Jasper Morrison Ltd. and Capellini
Yves Tanguy, La splendeur semblable, 1930 Kunstmuseum Basel, photo: Martin P. Bühler, copyright for the works of Yves Tanguy: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Dan Tobin Smith, A Matter of Perspective (published in Wallpaper*, no. 69, June 2004, set design by Lyndsay Milne McLeod) © Dan Tobin Smith