Design is a rarely mentioned, but significant aspect of weapons. Guns as designed products were the theme of an exhibition at the Frankfurt Museum Angewandte Kunst.
What made this exhibition unique was how it presented the close connection between art and design, between the artwork and the designed objects. The spectrum of works ranged from purses featuring moulded pistols by the designer and concept artists Ted Noten, to a "throne" created by the Mozambiquan artist Gonçalo Mabunda by welding scrapped AK-47s which were used in the civil war in his home country. Perfume bottles by Viktor & Rolf shaped like hand grenades drew attention to the aestheticisation of weapons and violence in everyday life. Following the curatorial premise that design often provides very precise insights into the hidden fears and wishes of society, the exhibition aimed to confront visitors with the other side of the "peaceful Western society". The exhibition itself was designed to resemble a trade fair, reinforcing the link between art and design by presenting works of applied art and fine art as commercial goods or popular collector’s items.
In collaboration with the Excellence Cluster "Formation of Normative Orders" of the University of Frankfurt, the project also staged lectures and hosted podium discussions on the sociological, anthropological and psychological aspects of aggression and violence. The project has also developed a film series in cooperation with the Filmmuseum which dealt with the aesthetic depiction of violence.
Curators: Ellen Blumenstein, Daniel Tyradellis, Matthias Wagner K
Curatorial assistants: Juliane Duft, Anna Gien
Designers/Manufacturers: Raffaele Iannello (IT), Juan Cristobal Karich (CL), Helmut Lang (AT/US), Gonçalo Mabunda (MZ), Alexander McQueen (GB), Ted Noten (NL), Philippe Starck (FR), Viktor & Rolf (BE) and others
Artists: Omer Fast (IL), Clara Ianni (BR), Barbara Kruger (US), Oliver Laric (AT), Kris Martin (BE), Rami Maymon (IL), Julian Röder, Ala Younis (KW) and others