Rudolf Steiner is known in Germany as the founder of the Waldorf pedagogy and the pioneer of alternative medicine. The exhibition "Alchemy of Everyday Life" was the first comprehensive retrospective of his complete works which – in addition to his buildings, interiors and furniture – include paintings, drawings, set designs and numerous publications. Although the exhibition touched on the anthroposophical perspective of Steiner’s legacy, it mainly focused on the historical and art-historical positioning of his intellectual works. The curators outlined Steiner’s roots in the reform movements of the early 20th century and his relationship to his contemporaries, such as Nietzsche, Kandinsky and Isadora Duncan. Because Steiner remains a controversial figure today, this exhibition tried to offer a more objective, work-oriented evaluation of Steiner, yet incorporated a critical perspective, as well. It situated his works alongside artistic positions which were strongly influenced by Steiner, such as those by Joseph Beuys, Frank Lloyd Wright and Konstantin Grcic.

The art museums in Stuttgart und Wolfsburg supplemented the exhibition with works by contemporary artists, such as Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, Katharina Grosse and Tony Cragg. The contemporary pieces in particular showed to what extent Steiner’s work continues to influence artists today. As the exhibition went on tour to various venues, local references have been incorporated into the show. For example, in Weil am Rhein, the exhibition examined the architectural style of the villa colony in the Swiss town of Dornach, the significance of which is still evident in contemporary architecture.

Curator: Mateo Kries
Contributing researchers: Walter Kugler, Markus Brüderlin, Ulrike Groos

Venues and schedule:
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 13 May – 3 Oct. 2010
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, 5 Feb. – 22 May 2011
MAK Wien, 22 June – 25 Sep. 2011
Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 15 Oct. 2011 – 01May 2012
MART – Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy, 09 Feb. – 02 June 2013


Vitra Design Stiftung gGmbH

Charles-Eames-Straße 1

79576 Weil am Rhein