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Luminous Times

Lighting Design Through The 20th Century.

The exhibition was visited from 13 June through the end of September 2010 in the context of guided tours or by special appointment.

Domaine de Boisbuchet presented a special exhibition with lighting objects from the collection of Alexander von Vegesack.
The architectural exhibition shown there owed much of its appeal to the morbid charm of the premises, and this very element is being drawn on again for yet another presentation.

Inspired by the workshops at the Domaine, the exhibition took an experimental approach in examining the themes of light and design. First there was the unusual contrast of the desolate building with the high-quality artistry of the lighting. Along with renowned designs by Alvar Aalto, Achille Castiglioni, Verner Panton, Jean Prouvé, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Isamu Noguchi, Ingo Maurer and Ettore Sottsass, a number of rarer lamps in design history – including many one-off pieces – had been displayed as well as new designs, such as by the Campana brothers. Aside from a few loaned pieces, all objects stem from the collection of Alexander von Vegesack. The collection has already been the subject of major shows at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1993 and the Pinacoteca Agnelli in Turin in 2008. The particular fascination of this exhibition, however, lied in the staging of the presentation. It not only underscored the specific lighting effect of the exhibition objects but also the historical background they serve to illuminate. Each of the fifteen rooms constituted its own tableau and expressed the various facets of lighting.

As an additional sideline, the major themes of art and design also entered the spotlight: their investigations of nature, the crossing of boundaries into the unconscious, the dialogue between modern design and abstract art, the influence of Japan on nineteenth-century western art, the commodity aesthetic of the Pop Art movement, the putative objectivity of the images in film and photography and last but not least the contradiction between image and time. Like aphorisms, the short texts accompanying the fifty-six exhibit objects made references to these themes. Very much in keeping with the intended experiment, this provided food for thought not only for visitors but also for the curator of the exhibition. Mathias Schwartz-Clauss, curator at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein in Germany, employes these inspirations to come up with ideas for future projects, including ones planned for the Domaine de Boisbuchet.