Subversives Design

Ausstellungsansicht Subversives Design c NRW Forum Foto Katja Illner 121818

February 11 – May 22 2022

Subversive design is critical design. It doesn’t offer any direct solutions. Instead, it questions the classical system’s status quo.

The exhibition space has been transformed into a warehouse where functional shelving systems house the pieces and a robot moves through the aisles transporting products. Instead of unique artistic pieces, the group exhibition shows products by contemporary designers who deal with some of the pressing issues of our time: climate change, digitalisation, and discrimination.


Zara Alexandrova & Zoran Georgiev
Ludwig Berger
Liora Epstein
Jojo Gronostay (Dead White Men´s Clothes)
Demna Gvasalia für Balenciaga
Pieterjan Ginckels
Vanessa Harden
Katerina Kamprani
Henri Alexander Levy (Enfants Riches Déprimés)
Next Nature Network
PUTPUT (Stephan & Ulrik Martin Larsen)
Max Siedentopf
Vaia Tatopoulou
The Internet Shop
Patricia Thoma
Anna van Eck
Sebastian Wanke

Subversion means targeted infiltration and describes processes that question existing orders and systems, appropriating their mechanisms and making them visible with goal of changing them. Closely related to subversion is the concept of critical design, which instead of serving a consumer-oriented market, questions the classical design system and seeks to offer counter-designs and new possibilities of action for the future.

Instead of individual pieces, the group exhibition emphasises serial production. Subversive design does not place itself above the mainstream, it operates within it. The designers remix, sample, intervene, hack, turn functionality on its head and in doing so, question habits of consumption and views on the topics of nutrition, fashion, sustainability, and climate.

The exhibition is curated by Alain Bieber, artistic director of the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, and Judith Winterhager, curatorial assistant of the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. Some of the works were found using, the platform for co-curation and co-creation. The exhibition design is by Please Don’t Touch.

Sponsors / Partners

Logo des Minsteriums für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen

Partners Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf Otto Beisheim Stiftung Hoffmann Liebs Max Brown Midtown CCS