Mustafa Sabbagh, 'Just in Black', 2014 (1)

Mustafa Sabbagh, ‘Just in Black’, 2014

Curated by Marco Costantini and  Susanne Hilpert Stuber, Nirvana. Strange Forms of Pleasure  invites us to examine our own ideas and perceptions of pleasure. It forces us to observe how its forms of expression can cross the line from the private to the public sphere when they are the subject of fashion, design or art. Designers cover the body with close-fitting garments or sensual materials, adorning them with jewellery that is aesthetically as well as erotically pleasing, creating furniture with evocative forms, works of art in which beauty and perfection are spiced with the whiff of brimstone. Nirvana shows that society’s desire for sensual pleasure remains vigorous in our digital age.

Petros Christostomou, BigWigs ©

Petros Christostomou, Big Wigs ©

The exhibition is Switzerland’s first international-level exhibition to be devoted to forms of pleasure in contemporary creation, exploring design as well as fashion and contemporary art, and the first compre­hensive study of the influence of erotica on design, contemporary art and fashion.


Mark Woods © The Word Made Flesh

By turns bold, luxurious and mysterious, the exhibi­tion presents works by around eighty artists and designers, and over 200 objects and installations. It focuses on design, fashion, and also contemporary art, which helps to open our eyes: its aim is to examine our relationship with the forms and objects that give physical expression to our unconscious perceptions of sexuality and our private notions of pleasure. In the exhibits, taboos are subverted by the use of unexpected shapes and materials, and by an attention to detail that has much in common with what the fashion world would consider haute couture.


Maison Martin Margiela ©

It features a selection of contemporary designers who draw on the iconography of pleasure in their creative work, finding inspiration in erotic and fetishist literature, along with the images, objects and clothing to which they frequently refer.


Betony Vernon © Souless Shoes

Visitors will discover finely-crafted, sometimes rare and inaccessible items, made from materials usually associated with the worlds of luxury goods, craftsmanship and contemporary art.

Mustafa Sabbagh, 'Just in Black', 2014 (2)

Mustafa Sabbagh, ‘Just in Black’, 20

Celebrated and up-and-coming designers alike bring these multiple influences into the spotlight, placing in the public sphere what has hitherto remained private. All these designers force us to question our value judgements on erotic practices by presenting unexpectedly luxurious items, worked to the highest standards of craftsmanship in leather, glass and precious metals.


Bina Baitel © Saddle Swing

MUDAC – musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains _ Place de la Cathédrale 6 _ CH-1005 Lausanne

from 29 October 2014 – 26 April 2015

Participants: Abdi Abdelkader, DZ – Milena Altini, IT – Nobuyoshi Araki, JP – Bina Baitel, FR – David Baskin, USA – Yves Béhar, CH – François Berthoud, CH – Barbara Bloom, USA – Antoine Boudin, FR – Pierre Charpin, FR – Petros Chrisostomou, UK – Matteo Cibic, IT – Matali Crasset, FR – Charlie Davidson, SE – Marc Dibeh, LB – Patrycja Domanska, PL – Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, FR – Anika Engelbrecht, DE – Matthew Epler, USA – État Libre d’Orange, FR – Naomi Filmer, UK – Sylvie Fleury, CH – Björn Franke, DE – Rachel Freire, UK – Marie Garnier, FR – Christian Ghion, FR – Givenchy, FR – Heeley, FR – Roberto Greco, IT – Julian Hakes, UK – Zaha Hadid, UK-IRQ – Sophie Hanagarth, CH – Jaime Hayon, SP – Dejana Kabiljo, HR – Cary Kwok, HK – Masaya Kushino, JP – Ugo La Pietra, IT – Jacques Le Corre, FR – Lubin, FR – Charlie le Mindu, FR – Gianmarco Lorenzi, IT – Sarah Lucas, UK – Maison Martin Margiela, FR – Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, FR – Luc Mattenberger, CH – Gabriel Moginot, FR – Eelko Moorer, NL – Nasomatto, NL – Mark Newson, AU – Magdalene Odundo, KEN – Erwin Olaf, NL – Oriza L. Legrand, FR – Parfum d’Empire, FR – Parfumerie Générale, FR – Kate Peters, UK – Karim Rashid, EG – Mustafa Sabbagh, IT – Olivier Schawalder, CH – Markus Schinwald, AT – Ettore Sottsass, IT – Studio Job, BE & NL – Jean-Baptiste Sibertin Blanc, FR – Caro Suerkemper, DE – Gianluca Tamburini, IT – Noritaka Tatehana, JP – Mario Testino, IT – Matteo Thun, IT – Morgane Tschiember, FR – Walter Van Beirendonck, BE – Atelier Van Lieshout, BE – Lucas Van Vugt, NL – Nick Veasey, UK – Olivier Védrine, FR – Jean-Luc Verna, FR – Betony Vernon, USA – Vero Profumo, CH – Rein Vollenga, NL – Mark Woods, UK – Jeff Zimmermann, USA – Nika Zupanc, SI


Catalogue _ Texts by Marco Costantini (curator, art historian, Lausanne), Susanna Kumschick (ethnologue, vice-directrice/conservatrice, Gewerbemuseum, Winterthour), Denyse Beaulieu (journalist, Paris), Joel Vacheron (sociologist, London), and Luca Marchetti (semiologist, Geneva/Paris).

 Main Image _ Mustafa Sabbagh, Just in Black (2014) / Photograph, lambda print / Dimensions: 100 x 90 cm / Image © Mustafa Sabbagh

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