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News

State of Extremes

A broad range of work from designers responding to our current social and ecological predicaments - eliciting despair but also humour.

Design Museum Holon, Israel

12th December 2019 – 9th May 2020

By Anna Sansom / 6th January 2020
Virgil Abloh, ‘Alaska Chair’, 2018 COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

Virgil Abloh, ‘Alaska Chair’, 2018
COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

TEN YEARS AFTER the Design Museum Holon’s inaugural exhibition ‘The State of Things’, the Ron Arad-designed museum has hired Aric Chen to curate its anniversary exhibition, ‘State of Extremes’. 

Installation view COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

Installation view
COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

Shanghai-based Chen has worked with Maya Dvash, the museum’s chief curator, and Azinta Plantenga, an assistant research fellow at the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University, Shanghai, to assemble works about the dire, extreme conditions of the world today.

Thematically, it’s a broad undertaking, featuring pieces by around 60 design studios (around a third of which are Israeli), that reflect upon global warming, environmental and social issues, growing inequality and Brexit. Besides established names such as Atelier Van Lieshout and Virgil Abloh, there are diverse contributions by recent graduates.

Atelier Van Lieshout, ‘The End of Everything’, 2017 COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

Installation view including Atelier Van Lieshout’s video, ‘The End of Everything’, 2017
COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

The show can be read as a song of lamentation. Adding a touch of humour amidst the doom and gloom is Tadas Maksimovas and Martijn Koomen’s ‘Emotigun’ (2019) – a slingshot machine that fires circular objects representing social-media emojis at the visitor’s face. This dig at the prolific use of emojis offers a counterpoint to the wide array of more serious works on display.

Tadas Maksimovas and Marijn Koomen, ‘Emotigun’, 2019 COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

Tadas Maksimovas and Martijn Koomen, ‘Emotigun’, 2019
COURTESY: Design Museum Holon / PHOTOGRAPH: Elad Sarig

Design Museum Holon – the first museum in Israel dedicated to Design.

Article By

Anna Sansom
Anna Sansom is a Paris-based journalist who writes about art, design and architecture for The Art Newspaper, Frame, Damn and Sotheby's Magazine, among other publications.