Living in a Box.
Design und Comics
Vitra Schaudepot, Weil am Rhein
24 May 2019 – 20 October 2019
What do Swedish Moomins and the Butterfly Chair or Tin Tin and his dog Snowy have in common with the MR-10 chair by Mies van der Rohe? The answer is: comics; stories told inside many black boxes. From 24 May, the Vitra Design Museum will be presenting this exciting relationship in its collection at the Vitra Schaudepot with examples of cartoon drawings, graphic novels and complementary design objects.
“What an uncomfortable chair”, moans Moominpappa from the popular Swedish comic “Moomin”, back in 1958, as he tries out the 1938 Grupo Austral Butterfly Chair. Moominpapa prefers practical and traditional things. Since comics have become socially relevant, design has taken on the mediating role between the imagined comic world and our everyday lives. Here, design classics contribute to an understanding of states of mind, atmospheres or the social status of the characters primarily through visual codes. Thus, a dynamically dressed comic figure on an Eames Lounge Chair is immediately perceived as a modern person. To the extent that comic-strip artists use real-world design objects for their own purposes, sometimes mocking them in a witty way and incorporating them into their fictions, designers are also inspired by the surreal, fantastic stories and colourful imagery of comics. From the 1960s onwards, comics increasingly influenced culture and design. Humorous exhibits, such as the Mickey Mouse Garriris chair (1987) by the Spanish artist, cartoonist and designer Javier Mariscal, were created at the interface between art and design,
The exhibition also showcases current examples with those from the recent past. For instance, it includes the graphic novel “Eileen Gray: A House Under the Sun” which tells the story of designer Eileen Gray and the creation of Villa E.1027; and three of the 50 Manga Chairs by the Japanese design studio Nendo, each of which takes up a design element of the complex imagery of the mangas.
The exhibition “Living in a Box” combines the two-dimensional with the three-dimensional in a historical context. By illuminating the exciting relationship between design and fiction, the exhibition playfully explores a highly topical theme.