ALEXANDER VON VEGESACK COLLECTING DESIGN
20 March 2008 – 06 July 2008
curated by Mathias Schwartz-Clauss
The exhibition curated by Mathias Schwartz-Clauss presents Alexander von Vegesack’s collection proposing an unusual portrait of the collector, of his great curiosity for research and his ability to look beyond the pure aesthetics of an object.
A nucleus of more than 300 objects, divided into twenty-two sections, traces the history of 20th century design, through furniture, architectural models, textiles, saddles, plates and glasses, books, catalogues,photographs, film and documents put together by Alexander von Vegesack, a cultural innovator, and the founder and director of the Vitra Design Museum of Weil am Rhein.
The exhibition opens with an original three-dimensional “biography” which describes von Vegesack’s first expeditions in a Cairo bazaar, his relations with Eastern Europe, his life, his work and above all his journeys around the world, through the story of his family.
The leitmotiv of the exhibition is industrial furniture, and the display includes mass produced pieces, single pieces and prototypes that were milestones in 20th century design, like the first curved wooden furniture from Thonet, the seats and furnishings of Jean Prouvé, Charles and Ray Eames and Alvar Aalto, the domestic architecture of Le Corbusier, the first examples of tubular steel chairs by Mies van der Rohe in the 1920s, and important pieces by contemporary designers such as Ron Arad or Fernando and Humberto Campana.
The collection also includes curios and souvenirs from his travels, to Spain, Mexico, Austria and Japan, which reflect the life of Alexander von Vegesack, who began to dedicate himself in an intuitive but nonetheless scientific way to the creation of his eclectic collection back in the 1960s.
From “Vanity”, a gallery that displayed second-hand clothes, to the theatre set up in a disused factory in Hamburg, the farm in Les Landes, France, or the Boisbuchet estate in the Southeast of France, an international cultural centre where, since 1996, he has organised a series of Summer workshops together with the Pompidou Centre of Paris and the Vitra Design Museum, where the visiting professors are internationally renowned artists, designers and architects, and the aim is to stimulate the creative process through rational thought, creativeness and manual skills in an extraordinary bucolic setting.
Some film and a brief description of the items on display complete this unique, unorthodox collection, accompanied by a rich illustrated catalogue published by Electa, with texts by Deyan Sudjic, Rolf Fehlbaum, Mateo Kries and other authors.
The exhibition has been realized thanks to the support of Compagnia di San Paolo, with a contribution of 150 thousand euro considering also that Adventure with objects – Alexander von Vegesack collecting design – is one of the event of Torino 2008 World Design Capital, whose Committee Compagnia di San Paolo is a member.
The exhibition is also realized thanks to Alfa Romeo, main sponsor.