Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design


International travelling exhibition in collaboration with Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany


Design Museum Den Bosch, The Netherlands
17 Oct 2020–23 March 2021

C-Mine, Genk, Belgium
10 March 2020–12 July 2020

Design Museum Barcelona, Spain
31 Oct 2019–2 Feb 2020

Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
29 Sept 2018–10 March 2019

Tomás Saraceno, "Flying Garden" in Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design, C-Mine, Genk, Belgium.

From 2018-2021, the Papanek Foundation presented the international travelling exhibition, Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design, co-curated by Alison J. Clarke, a cooperation between the Vitra Design Museum and the Barcelona Design Museum, in collaboration with the Victor J. Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts Vienna.

The expansive show presented varied and previously unseen materials from the Papanek Foundation archive pertaining to design activist Victor Papanek’s lifelong career, highlighting the crucial theme of design as a political and social tool. Alongside the exploration of Papanek’s links with key thinkers and design figures, ranging from media theorist Marshall McLuhan, maverick futurist Buckminster Fuller to leading feminist graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, the exhibition cast light on the legacy of 1960s and 1970s activism through the presentation of contemporary exhibits dealing with politically pertinent issues ranging from state violence, to climate change, bio-synthetics, and the precariousness of citizenship.

Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design featured work from cutting-edge contemporary practitioners including: Forensic Architecture, Faber Futures, FluiColectivo, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Femke Herregraven, NeuroSpeculativeAfroFeminism/Hypen-Labs, Lucy and Jorge Orta, Tomás Saraceno, and Maya Jay Varadaraj, among others.