The SCHIRN is dedicating a major exhibition to the fascinating history of plastics in fine art


22 June – 1 October 2023

Plastic is everywhere. It permeates the present age—it is inexpensive, available virtually worldwide, and omnipresent in our daily lives. Because of the vast design possibilities, plastics soon found their way into art and quickly became one of the principal materials. In the 1950s, synthetic substances were both a symptom and a symbol of mass culture—the “Plastic Age” was born. In the brief history of this material culture, which continues to dominate to this day, the successful and versatile substance developed from being the epitome of progress, modernity, utopian spirit, and democratization of consumerism into a threat to the environment.

The SCHIRN is dedicating a major thematic exhibition to the fascinating history of plastics in fine art. PLASTIC WORLD presents objects, assemblages, installations, films, and documentations and opens up a broad panorama of the artistic use and evaluation of plastic which reflects the societal context concerned. The spectrum extends from the euphoria of pop culture in the 1960s to the futuristic influence of the space age, and from the trash works of Nouveau Réalisme to the ecocritical positions of recent times; it includes architectural utopias and environments as well as experiments with material properties.

On view are over 100 works from some 50 international artists, including Monira Al Qadiri, Archigram, Arman, César, Christo, Haus-Rucker-Co, Eva Hesse, Hans Hollein, Craig Kauffman, Kiki Kogelnik, Gino Marotta, James Rosenquist, Pascale Marthine Tayou, and Pınar Yoldaş.

Craig Kauffman, Untitled Wall Relief, 1967/2008, Sprüth Magers, © 2023 Estate of Craig Kauffmann/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain