Objects of Desire
Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today

Exhibition programme


Guided tour »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 – Today«

Regular tours in German on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays
(starting on 5 October)
11.30 am, Vitra Design Museum

Special offer: 25 December 2019 – 6 January 2020
Supplementary guided tour at 3 pm, Vitra Design Museum

Tours in English upon request, inquiries and bookings: info@design-museum.de

Children's tour through the exhibition

Tours in German on the following Sundays: 20.10., 03.11., 01.12.2019, 12.1.2020,
2:30 pm, Vitra Design Museum
Minimum attendance: 5 children
Registration required at least seven days before the tour.

Tours in English upon request, inquiries and bookings: info@design-museum.de


Form follows Fiction?
Wieki Somers and Ronan Bouroullec in conversation with Mateo Kries
OPENING TALK (EN) | 27 September 2019
6 pm, Fire Station

Ronan Bouroullec is one of the leading designers of our time, Wieki Somers has gained international acclaim working at the interface of design and art. At the opening of the exhibition »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design«, these two will join Mateo Kries, director of the Vitra Design Museum and curator of the exhibition, in a talk about design and the surreal. They will address fundamental design issues, inquiring into the roles that chance and the subconscious play in new designs. Does form invariably follow function? Where is the boundary between design and art – if it exists at all?
Free admission, registration by 23 September 2019 under events@design-museum.de

Wednesday Matinee – Objects of Desire
CURATOR’S TOUR (DE) | 9 October 2019
10 am, Vitra Design Museum

Mateo Kries, director of the Vitra Design Museum and curator of the exhibition, takes visitors on a guided tour of »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design«, explaining its fundamental ideas and sharing background details about its inception and development.
€ 10.00 per person

Humberto Campana – Welcome the Surreal!
TALK (EN) | 10 October 2019
6:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot

Humberto and Fernando Campana are Latin America’s leading designers whose works appear in many acclaimed interiors, including Kylie Jenner’s living room. Their installations, lamps, and furniture – the »Favela Chair« (1991) is probably their best-known piece – are provocative, playful, and imaginative. Humberto Campana’s talk about his design work is followed by a conversation with Mateo Kries, director of the Vitra Design Museum.
Free admission, registration: events@design-museum.de

Barbara Vinken – Fashion and Surrealism: Images of Femininity from Dalí to Dior
TALK (DE) | 7 November 2019
6:30 pm, Vitra Schaudepot

Literary scholar and fashion expert Barbara Vinken explores the role of women in fashion and art. In her talk she will address the often piquant relationships between Surrealism, fashion, and changing images of femininity. What does it mean that Salvador Dalí designed a lip-shaped sofa and Man Ray painted the f-holes of a stringed instrument onto a female nude? What impact did Surrealism have on fashion, and what is its lasting influence on such contemporary fashion designers as Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garçons or Iris van Herpen?
Free admission

Dress Up! Surrealist Seating
SPECIAL WORKSHOP (DE) | 10 November 2019
10:30 am, Vitra Schaudepot

From Meret Oppenheim’s furry teacup to the »Horse Lamp« (2006) designed by the Swedish Front Design group – in Surrealism nothing is what it seems as costumes and camouflage transform the familiar world into a mysterious realm of secrets and stories. This is precisely what this workshop accompanying the exhibition »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design« is proposing to do: Participants will use various materials and methods to dress up a chair, transforming a familiar piece of furniture into an original and playful design object to take home.
€ 65.00 per person, registration: info@design-museum.de

The Sounds of Surrealism – Air Cushion Finish
Music Performance in the Exhibition
SPECIAL (DE/EN/FR) | 16 November 2019
8 pm, Vitra Design Museum

The Berlin-based sound art duo Air Cushion Finish, consisting of JayRope and Lippstueck, will transform the museum into a mysterious realm situated between dream and reality. Their concert in the exhibition »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design« features a wide array of sound-producing objects as well as electronic music and filters. JayRope’s instrumental performance and Lippstueck’s soft vocals exert a hypnotic fascination, offering a musical interpretation of Surrealist motifs. Concertgoers are welcome to explore the exhibition as they listen.
Free admission, registration: events@design-museum.de

Man Ray to Campana: Light Sculptures
SPECIAL WORKSHOP (DE) | 24 November 2019
10:30 am, Vitra Schaudepot

Lighting is a fascinating challenge for many designers and artists – from Man Ray, who designed the Surrealist object »Lampshade« (1964), to Fernando and Huberto Campana, who find suggestive uses for recycled materials. Inspired by these and similar examples, the participants in this design workshop will use materials like wire, glass, wood, and textiles to create atmospheric light sculptures that brighten up the winter days.
€ 65.00 per person, registration: info@design-museum.de

Surrealism Tandem Tour. A Cooperation of Kunstmuseum Basel and Vitra Design Museum
SPECIAL (DE) | 7 December 2019
2 pm, Kunstmuseum Basel
5 pm, Vitra Design Museum

This tandem tour gives participants a chance to approach Surrealism from different angles. After being introduced to selected works of Surrealist art in the collection of Kunstmuseum Basel, they continue to the Vitra Design Museum, where the exhibition »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design« presents Surrealist furniture, lamps, and other design objects. The tour ends with an aperitif offered at Vitra Design Museum.
€ 25.00 per person, registration: events@design-museum.de

Man Ray, Buñuel, Dalí – Surrealist Cinema
SPECIAL (DE/EN) | 12 December 2019
8 pm, Business Lounge at the VitraHaus

Some of the milestones of film history were created by Surrealist artists like Man Ray, Luis Buñuel, and Salvador Dalí. Apart from the dream worlds, obsessions, and chance encounters one would expect from a Surrealist director, their cinematic works also feature path-breaking visual experiments. Following an introduction by assistant curator Tanja Cunz, we will screen Surrealism’s most important films. Although cinemagoers can look forward to popcorn and comfortable lounge chairs, the evening is unlikely to get too cosy: Surrealist films were made to shock and perturb, using an entirely new approach to narration.
Free admission, registration: events@design-museum.de

Noire et Blanche: Guided Tour and Surrealist Dinner
SPECIAL (DE) | 11 January 2020
6 pm, Vitra Design Museum

The exhibition »Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design« provides the occasion for a special Surrealist evening at the Vitra Design Museum. An exclusive guided tour giving insights into the exhibition’s background and ideas is followed by dinner at the Depot Deli in an ambience evoking the culinary fantasies of Man Ray and Salvador Dalí. An evening between dream and reality.
€ 65.00 per person incl. dinner, registration: events@desig-museum.de

Basel Museum Night: Surreal Dreams
SPECIAL (DE/EN/FR) | 17 January 2020
6 pm, Vitra Campus

On the occasion of Basel’s Museum Night, we will transform the Vitra Campus into a dream world of light and shadow. Situated between the conscious and the subconscious, the world of dreams explored by the Surrealists emerges as a visual and physical experience as visitors enter the Fire Station’s interactive light installation. A mask-building workshop and guided tours of the exhibition give visitors the opportunity to learn more about Surrealism and design.

You can find our programme with information on all exhibitions, events and highlights at the Vitra Design Museum here.