22 JUNE – 1 OCTOBER 2023

Plastic is every­where. It perme­ates the present age – it is inex­pen­sive, avail­able virtu­ally world­wide, and omnipresent in our daily lives. Because of the vast design possi­bil­i­ties, plastics soon found their way into art and quickly became one of its prin­cipal mate­rials. In the 1950s, synthetic substances were both a symptom and a symbol of mass culture – the “Plastic Age” was born.
In the brief history of this mate­rial culture, which continues to domi­nate to this day, the successful and versa­tile substance devel­oped from being the epitome of progress, modernity, utopian spirit, and democ­ra­ti­za­tion of consumerism into a threat to the environment. 
The SCHIRN is dedi­cating a major thematic exhi­bi­tion to the fasci­nating history of plas­tics in fine art. "Plastic World" presents objects, assem­blages, instal­la­tions, films, and documentations and opens up a broad panorama of the artistic use and eval­u­a­tion of plastic which reflects the soci­etal context concerned. The spec­trum extends from the euphoria of pop culture in the 1960s to the futur­istic influ­ence of the space age, and from the trash works of Nouveau Réalisme to the ecocrit­ical posi­tions of recent times; it includes archi­tec­tural utopias and envi­ron­ments as well as exper­i­ments with mate­rial prop­er­ties.

© All images Norbert Miguletz, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2023

On view are over 100 works from some 50 inter­na­tional artists, including Monira Al Qadiri, Evelyne Axell, and Tue Greenfort.



Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983) is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. Spanning sculpture, installation, film, and performance, Al Qadiri’s multifaceted practice is based on research into the cultural histories of the Gulf region. Her interpretation of the Gulf’s so-called “petro-culture” is manifested through speculative scenarios that take inspiration from science fiction, autobiography, traditional practices, and pop culture, resulting in uncanny and covertly subversive works that destabilize mythologies of statecraft and modernization as well as traditional notions of gender. Tracing the delicate ecologies threate...
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Evelyne Axell (b. 1935 in Namur, Belgium) began her career as a TV presenter, becoming a charismatic and acclaimed theatre and film actress in Paris and Brussels, as well as a scriptwriter. In 1964, due to the misogyny inherent within the film industry, she decided to quit her promising acting career to pursue painting. It was during the filming of one of her husband’s documentaries, “Dieu est-il Pop?”, that she met in London with Allen Jones, Peter Phillips, Pauline Boty, Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, and Joe Tilson. She then decided to embrace Pop Art. 

The Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte, a family friend, exceptionally a...
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Tue Greenfort (b. 1973 in Holbaek, Denmark) lives and works in Horbelev, Denmark.

Tue Greenfort’s interdisciplinary practice deals with issues such as the public and private realms, nature, and culture. Interweaving these subjects with the language of art he formulates a multi-faceted critique of today's dominant economical and scientific production. Intrigued by the dynamics in the natural world, Greenfort’s work often evolves around ecology and its history, including the environment, social relations, and human subjectivity.

The roots of his practice lie in the art movements of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Land Art and research...
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