The desire for beauty

With their exhibition project "Beauty", Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh supply a multimedial plea in the MAK for the desire for beauty.

Beauty was and still is somewhat negatively portrayed in the discourse on design throughout almost the entire 20th and 21st centuries. The graphic designers Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh counter this antipathy with impressive arguments and make beauty something to experience as a central, functional aspect of appealing design. The exhibition occupies the entire MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art. A mix of installations specially produced for the exhibition and examples of product design, city planning, architecture and graphic design animates visitors to see, smell and touch in the MAK Hall of Columns, the MAK Design Laboratory, the MAK Gallery, the MAK Kunstblättersaal and the MAK Collection of Contemporary Art. Supported by findings from the field of psychological aesthetics, Sagmeister and Walsh offer evidence that beautifully designed works stimulate human perception and thus function better.

Around 70 groups of objects will be set up, arranged into the six exhibition topics "What is beauty?", "The history of beauty", "In the eye of the beholder", "Experiencing beauty", "Transforming beauty" and "The beauty archive". The heart of the exhibition is the "Sensory Room", a sensually presented White Cube designed in collaboration with Swarovski. The outer skin of this installation was created in the MAK Design Laboratory in close cooperation with the creative team at Swarovski: Thousands of Swarovski crystals sparkle in an ornament designed by Sagmeister and Walsh and lend the room a special magic. Inside, the visitors - wrapped in fog - are met by the constantly changing colors of sunset. Smells perceived as "beautiful", such as citrus, and a carpet of sound of the Malaysian swamp frog's songs, provide an incomparable way to experience beauty. And the spectacular "Fog Screen", on which projections are played, stages the main entrance to the MAK on Stubenring and raises the central question upon stepping inside the museum: "What is beauty?"

Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty, October 24, 2018 - March 31, 2019


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