In recent years, new scientific discoveries and philosophical approaches have questioned the objectification of plants and the dualism of man/nature, deeply rooted in Western thinking. For many designers, scientists, and engineers, plants are of primary importance. This approach was already an essential inspiration source in the 19th century for former artists and designers and is reflected in numerous collection objects of the Kunstgewerbemuseum. The artists selected for Plant Fever understand vegetation not only as a resource for food, material or recreation, but as a source of inspiration in the design process. Theey deal with the structures and behaviors in the plant world, to develop new solutions to current and upcoming environmental and social issues. The dialogue of current (system) critical approaches with historical objects from its own collection represents an important reference to the museum, its history and the location of Pillnitz Castle. Plant Fever proposes to look at the future of design from a new "plant" perspective, shifting from a human-centered to a phytocentric design.
The exhibition presents around 50 international projects from the fields of product design, fashion and new technologies and examines the hidden potential of plants. The exhibits are a wide variety of products, fashion, furniture, graphics, materials research, open-source equipment, computer technology, arts and crafts, food, bio-robots and plants. They are complemented by exhibits from the collection volume of the Kunstgewerbemuseum, as well as the surrounding park in Schloss Pillnitz (in cooperation with Schlösserland Sachsen as the managing institution of the facility).
The exhibition is divided into three main chapters: 1st plants as resources, 2nd plants as pets and 3rd plants as allies. The basis is a manifesto, which commits itself in seven points to a respectful and responsible handling of plants in our everyday life. Topics and terms such as plant blindness, ecofeminism, forestry, biomimicry, upcycling, postcolonialism, cultural landscapes are discussed and illustrated with the objects. As part of the funding project, the production of the exhibition should be kept transparent and its impact on the climate and the plant world communicated to the audience.
The exhibition is from the design studio d-o-t-s or. conceived by the curators‘team Laura Drouet and Olivier Lacrouts and produced by the Belgian Centre d'innovation et de design (CID, Grand-Hornu). In 2020/2021, it was shown at the same location (pandemic conditionally closed for several times) and in 2021/22 at the Museum of Design in the Toni-Areal in Zurich. In 2023/24, it will finally be experienced in the KGM with the inclusion of the palace and park, including the Botanical Garden.