Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt:


June 22 – October 1, 2023

Plastic is every­where. It perme­ates the present age—it is inex­pen­sive, avail­able virtu­ally world­wide, and omnipresent in our daily lives. Because of the vast design possi­bil­i­ties, plas­tics soon found their way into art and quickly became one of the prin­cipal mate­rials. In the 1950s, synthetic substances were both a symptom and a symbol of mass culture—the “Plastic Age” was born. In the brief history of this mate­rial culture, which continues to domi­nate to this day, the successful and versa­tile substance devel­oped from being the epitome of progress, moder­nity, utopian spirit, and democ­ra­ti­za­tion of consumerism into a threat to the envi­ron­ment.

The SCHIRN is dedi­cating a major thematic exhi­bi­tion to the fasci­nating history of plas­tics in fine art. PLASTIC WORLD presents objects, assem­blages, instal­la­tions, films, and docu­men­ta­tions and opens up a broad panorama of the artistic use and eval­u­a­tion of plastic which reflects the soci­etal context concerned. The spec­trum extends from the euphoria of pop culture in the 1960s to the futur­istic influ­ence of the space age, and from the trash works of Nouveau Réalisme to the ecocrit­ical posi­tions of recent times; it includes archi­tec­tural utopias and envi­ron­ments as well as exper­i­ments with mate­rial prop­er­ties.

On view are over 100 works from some 50 inter­na­tional artists, including Monira Al Qadiri, Archi­gram, Arman, César, Christo, Haus-Rucker-Co, Eva Hesse, Hans Hollein, Craig Kauffman, Kiki Kogelnik, Gino Marotta, James Rosen­quist, Pascale Marthine Tayou, and Pınar Yoldaş.

Auch der deutsche Künstler Otto Piene verband moderne Technik und Natur. In einem begehbaren Environment von rund 160 Quadratmetern präsentiert die Schirn eine Neuauflage von Anemones: An Air Aquarium (1976/2023). Zehn riesige, bis zu acht Meter große, aufblasbare und durchsichtige Seeanemonen sowie andere Seewesen machen Unterwasserwelten erlebbar. Die zu ihrer Entstehungszeit poetische und spielerische Dimension der Arbeit wird heute durch das Wissen um die Verschmutzung der Meere durch (Mikro)plastik überlagert.


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