Annual Design Series: Inaugural Edition, “Fin de Siècle”

Annual Design Series: Inaugural Edition, “Fin de Siècle”

Swiss Institute

Andreas Angelidakis, Fin de Siècle (Bibelot), 2014. zCorp 450 color 3D print, 14 x 7 x 7 cm. Limited edition for Swiss Institute.

September 21, 2014

Fin de Siècle
Swiss Institute Annual Design Series: Inaugural Edition 

September 17–November 23, 2014

Swiss Institute
18 Wooster St
New York NY 10013  
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday noon–6pm
T +1 212 925 2035

Curated by renowned Greek-Norwegian architect Andreas Angelidakis, Fin de Siècle is the inaugural edition of Swiss Institute’s Annual Design Series. A curatorial homage to Eugène Ionesco’s 1952 absurdist play The Chairs, the exhibition includes an eclectic array of late 20th-century design pieces sourced from museum and private collections. Presented in an immersive mise-en-scène, this unique selection of chairs resonates with the drama of Ionesco’s tragic farce, 20 years after the celebrated avant-garde playwright’s passing.

The exhibiton includes pieces by Martine Boileau, Mario Botta, Andrea Branzi, Marcel Breuer, Nacho Carbonell, Oswald Dubach, H.R. Giger, Pierre Jeanneret, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), Reto Kaufmann, Wilhelm Kienzle, Gian Franco Legler, Frédéric Levrat, Alessandro Mendini, NN, Paolo Pallucco, Charlotte Perriand, Gaetano Pesce, Ugo La Pietra, Bruno Rey, Alfred Roth, Peter Shire, team form ag, Kurt Thut, Peter Truog, Robert Venturi, Lawrence Weiner, and Armin Wirth.

In The Chairs, an elderly couple recounts the demise of civilization to a stage full of empty chairs. Absent of any sitters, the audience is left to imagine the invisible figures that the increasingly incoherent Old Man and Old Woman address. In Fin de Siècle, the chairs themselves speak asynchronously, cast as characters and imbued with life. Directed into small vignettes of imagined conversations and actions that transcend periods and design movements, their dialogue echoes the modernist promise fading away. 

Curator Andreas Angelidakis writes: “In our current moment of plurality and infinite flux, these objects from the past era of grand movements are juxtaposed with one another. Let us contemplate their inaudible conversations.”

Highlights include seminal innovations in mass production by Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, and Armin Wirth; experiments in utopian design by Pierre Jeanneret; imaginative creations that extend reality by H.R. Giger and Alessandro Mendini; and whimsical splashes of color by Robert Venturi and Peter Shire.

“At this moment the audience would have in front of them…empty chairs on an empty stage decorated with streamers, littered with useless confetti, which would give an impression of sadness, emptiness and disenchantment such as one finds in a ballroom after a dance; and it would be after this that the chairs, the scenery, the void, would inexplicably come to life…upsetting logic and raising fresh doubts.” 
Eugène Ionesco

Swiss Institute thanks the lenders to the exhibition, Vitra Design Museum and Dennis Freedman.

About Andreas Angelidakis
Trained as an architect, Andreas Angelidakis switches roles between artist, curator, architect and teacher. His multidisciplinary practice often focuses around the internet, and the perceptive and behavioral changes it has brought about. Recently, Angelidakis worked at Garage, Moscow on a space for the exhibition of instruction-based artworks DO IT; curated and designed a survey exhibition of the Dakis Joannou collection at DESTE foundation in Athens; designed a show of contemporary magazines at the Haus der Kunst in Munich; and created the installation Crash Pad, which acted as the preliminary statement for the 8th Berlin Biennial. Angelidakis’s work is currently the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Greece. It is also part of the Greek Pavilion at the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice. Upcoming shows include Period Rooms at the Niuewe Institut, Rotterdam, and designing the exhibition architecture for a survey exhibition of film director Alejandro Jodorowsky at the CAPC in Bordeaux.

Upcoming public programs

Tuesday, September 23
Panel: “Everything that is solid melts into airbnb” with Alessandro Bava, Andrea Branzi, Rachael Yu and Aaron Taylor Harvey of Airbnb, hosted by AIRBNB Pavilion (Fabrizio Ballabio, Alessandro Bava, Luis Ortega Govela, Octave Perrault), moderated by Sean Monahan of K-HOLE

Monday, September 29
Lecture: “Miklos Klaus Rozsa, Documentation and Surveillance” with Christof Nüssli and Christoph Oeschger

Wednesday, October 1
Conversation: Artist Amie Siegel and Nicholas Cullinan, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on Provenance

Saturday, October 11
Reading and conversation: “The Alp” with author Arno Camenisch and Susan Bernofsky, Director of Literary Translation at Columbia University

Tuesday, October 14
Conversation: “Radical Cities” with author Justin McGuirk and Beatrice Galilee, Associate Curator of Architecture and Design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Additional programs to be announced shortly.

Media contact:
Dan Tanzilli, Third Eye
dan [​at​] / T +1 646 789 1132

Swiss Institute Annual Design Series: Inaugural Edition, "Fine de Siècle"
RSVP for Annual Design Series: Inaugural Edition, “Fin de Siècle”
Swiss Institute
September 21, 2014

Thank you for your RSVP.

Swiss Institute will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.