B E A U T Y – About The Meaning of Beauty

The designer duo Sagmeister & Walsh dedicates an exhibition at the MAK in Vienna to the subject of beauty and why it is necessary for a functional life.

Beauty is increasingly being accorded a subordinate role in the modern world. It is regarded as embellishment, as luxury, as show-off. The ideal of modernity seems to be functionality. 

The designer duo Sagmeister & Walsh in their "BEAUTY" exhibition at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna is concerned with the fact that beauty and functionality are anything but mutually exclusive, but that beauty even increases functionality. 

In the participatory exhibition, visitors will be confronted with various projects from the fields of graphics, product design, urban planning and architecture, all relating to the concept of beauty, and encouraged to participate.

Elements of the exhibition such as artistically designed plastic chandeliers show that functionality and beauty can go hand in hand. A colourful curtain of pig bladders – a by-product of the meat industry – proves that even supposedly unaesthetic aesthetics can develop. 

But examples from urban planning also show that aesthetically improved urban districts reduce crime rates and improve coexistence. A video from the medical sector also shows that our sense of beauty is preserved even when most of the functions of our minds are already severely impaired. 

Again and again, there are participative elements in which the visitor can use "beauty" chips to vote for what he finds beautiful. The visitor is asked to question his own personal attitude towards beauty – in a Sagmeister & Walsh own aesthetic way.

"B E A U T Y" is a plea for beauty. Contrary to the modern view, beauty is not a useless luxury, but helps functionality to fully develop its power.


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