Every two years, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum organizes an exhibition entitled “Proposals for Acquisition of Municipal Art” (Voorstellen tot Gemeentelijke Kunstaankopen). It features young talents and highlights new developments. For this event, the museum invites artists and designers to submit recent works to be judged by a panel of experts. The theme of the 2016 show is contemporary design. From this year’s submissions, the jury has chosen 26 designers whose creations range from chairs to social interventions and from fashion to fantasy. Submissions for the competition were judged by a jury consisting of Bas van Beek (designer and lecturer), Corinna Gardner (curator of Contemporary Product Design, Victoria & Albert Museum), Caroline Prisse (artist, curator and director of Van Tetterode Glass Studio), Chris Reinewald (design journalist and former editor-in-chief of the periodicals Items and Museumvisie) and Lennart Booij (curator of Applied Arts and Design, Stedelijk Museum, jury chair and compiler of the exhibition).
The current selection is remarkable for its high proportion of design solutions directed at social or environmental problems. Gloomy reports of global warming, over-consumption, industrial livestock production and the exploitation of cheap labor all fuel a desire for independence, self-reliance and renewed idealism. With ostensibly playful ease, designers are stepping up to the plate to tackle the problems of our time. In so doing they use diverse materials and methods that span the domains of art, design and social criticism.
Four dominant strategies characterize the approach of this new generation of designers: they experiment with innovative technologies, they seek solutions for humanitarian and environmental disasters, they use fiction to visualize the unimaginable, and they challenge our throw-away-society with objects that can be extensively repaired or reused.
Idealism in design is nothing new, but we are witnessing a shift away from the importance of the nature of the object towards a focus on the underlying concept or the ideal it represents. Occasionally, the result is of immediate practical use. However more importantly, the critical stance and force of imagination of these artists open up a new avenue of thought, bringing what would seem impossible one step closer.
The website www.dreamoutloud.stedelijk.nl serves as a catalog and live magazine. Please visit the site for regular updates.
For practical information, openings hours, admission and directions to the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the exhibition Dream Out Loud, please visit the Stedelijk Museum website: www.stedelijk.nl