25 November 2023 – 7 April 2024
From banal everyday objects such as colorful dishwashing sponges, banana stickers from all over the world, disposable cutlery and bicycles to neon signs from well-known brands: With the exhibition Things we collect, the museum asks designers from the greater Frankfurt am Main area what they collect privately and why.
In addition to the collections of objects on display, visitors can read the stories of the various designers in the exhibition, in which they talk about the origins of their private collections in different ways. The objects have different meanings for the collectors: They can be time capsules, life companions, memory bearers or simply a spontaneous discovery. Collecting therefore not only poses the question of how to deal with objects, but is rather a communication system, a system of signs, a social language.
The exhibition explores the connections between design and collecting. The exhibition explores the connections between design and collecting. What do designers collect who analyze objects in terms of form, material, function, processing and social or historical contexts within their profession? The “We” in the exhibition title emphasizes the connection between designers and museums. The aim is to address the contexts, backgrounds and motivations of collecting and enable contextualization beyond the museum. The exhibition explores the various aspects of collecting, from the private sphere to cultural practice: What can be discovered about collecting? What can be shared?
The starting point is the Museum Angewandte Kunst’s own collections, which in the history of the museum have in part entered the museum as donations or long-term loans from private collections for permanent institutional preservation, research and presentation. The objects in a collection such as the Museum Angewandte Kunst are characterized by a combination of aesthetics, function and use, quality of craftsmanship, design process, innovation and experimentation, historical context and cultural significance. From this, their inherent narrative is formed, and at the same time, each object contributes to the narrative of the history of applied art. An object’s narrative also includes its provenance, its origin – and thus a historical testimony, since various actors, such as collectors, have inscribed themselves in the history of the respective objects. Objects, it could be said, therefore correspond to a memory that, in the words of the German philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), is not an instrument for exploring the past, but rather its setting.
The exhibition Things we collect is a temporary extension of the permanent collection presentation Elementary Parts. From the Collections at the Museum Angewandte Kunst.
Sebastian Oschatz, Max Wolf, Mathias Wollin