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RAPUNZEL DON’T LET DOWN YOUR HAIR! A plastic bag fairy tale from MUDAC in Lausanne

image-1000-cropI’ve just got back from Lausanne. The MUDAC experience has been another beautiful Swiss one. Plastic bags of all sorts and kinds, in all forms and shapes have invaded the museum and will inhabit it until October.

It was lovely to meet a new museum crew and to reunite with Wintethur’s Gewerbemuseum once again. Exactly a year later the show ‘OH! PLASTIC SACK’ has travelled to Lausanne to become ‘COUP DE SAC!’,  the second art show fully dedicated solely to plastic bags! Isn’t it great? And certainly about time too!

The artworks presented last year at the Gewerbemuseum have flourished at MUDAC with some great new entries! The plastic bags exhibition is now growing while creating an ideal scenario of loving reunions and exciting new acquaintances.

The initial event’s inspiration was sparked by Ida Marie Corell’s ‘A L L T A G S O B J E KT P L A S T I K T Ü T E’, a book all about plastic bags, a selection of which featured ‘bagsworks’ materialized last year at the Gewerbemuseum under the curatorial-ship of Susanna Kumschick. The show keeps living and evolving thanks to a collaborative effort with MUDAC and its curatorial team led by Susanne Hilpert Stuber.

And by the way before I get too carried away I would like to officially thank the wonderful technicians: Daniel, David, Benjamin, and Dominique and all the rest of the staff like Francoise, Caroline and many other wonderful people.


Also check out some of the artists who are part of the show and I had the pleasure to spend time with:

Nils Voelker:

Ida Marie Corell:

Lea Ricorday:

Marie Claire Baldenweg:

Also don’t miss the next shows at the Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur. I know it is going to be amazing, all about tattoos and skin and once again curated by Susanna Kumschick:



In the meantime I am posting a selection of picks of my work which, as you know, is site-specific and therefore very different from the one created last year for the Gewerbemuseum.

This time I was offered to interact with two different areas: one indoor and one outdoors. This was an opportunity to dwell in an obvious inside-outside exchange. But then again I am a big fan of the obvious and the banal!

The main inspirations for the work were the museum’s ancient Egyptian collection on display in the basement, the permanent modern glass collection on the top floor and the architecture of the museum’s historic building that boasts typical Swiss features including a tower like structure. Not to mention the all-surrounding white Alps. Each of these ingredients seem to lend itself to a perfect western fairy tale.

‘RAPERONZOLO RAPERONZOLO, NON BUTTARE GIU’ IL TUO CODONZOLO!’ is the title of the work. The title is in Italian (translated from Rapunzel Rapunzel, don’t let down your hair!) and stems from the Brothers’s Grimm Rapunzel tale.

Fairy tales and stories, transitions and transformations, time and vertical spaces are some of the elements with which my bags are playing with.

Plastic bags like hair, an extension of our bodies? Bags an appendix of nature?

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For this occasion the bags constitute a hairy foliage cascading like Rapunzel’s braids inside the museum whilst climbing upwards akin to rampions to form a luscious magic garden of plastic bags connecting present to past, but especially wondering about the future.

Down, from the Egyptian grotto stocked with ancient craft you are elevated up to the loft: nest to a sublime glass collection. The journey is via a modern see-through glossy lift; white plastic bags will accompany you through the transition, from earth to air and from air to earth.

Like in an aquarium or a greenhouse the bags floral or coral formation can be viewed from behind the glass. They are ephemeral vessels that contain our contemporary consumerist life-style. The lift is the vertical mechanism that climbs up and falls down defeating gravity with lightness whilst accentuating the circularity of the cycles all around through a dialogue with its immediate surroundings if not just with the concept of my work.

Plastic bags, the banal invaders of everyday life and of nature, are now crawling inside museums only anticipating their archaeological destiny.

It all started just a few floors below, there, in the Egyptian cave. Continuity, innovation and evolution are the motto of the soon to be archaeological plastic remnants.  And while we are desperate to get rid of them, one day we will fret to preserve them.

But right now everything is disposable. Our most precious resources: nature, off it goes, thrown out of the window. It’s easy, especially driven by an insatiable force: the search for unachievable happiness.

A simple gist, a sudden action an automatic gesture: to throw.

To throw away: both a transitive and intransitive verb very popular in our contemporary vocabulary. A necessary word whose significance is closely tied to western opulent abundance as much as it is an intrinsic part of the dictionary of the plenty. But throwing inevitably forecasts precipitation.

In my vertical enchanted garden, plastic bags are simply moulded, just slightly, only to suggest something possibly appealing but already uncontrollably transforming, falling into the imminent next.

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In this case the appeasing static foliage of white bags transits from the inside to the lively outside of the museum, straight into kinetic whimsical shapes that will morph and rotten at the whims of climate changes and time. A vertical gravitational metamorphosis process that is unstoppable despite all human attempts. Once again aesthetics are only a hybrid tool, a mean and not the end of the work.

Will beauty save the world? Will the prince save the princess from the tower? Will the princess save the prince from the outside world? Just like in Grimm’s fairy tale will we fall in brambles, have our hair cut off and be blinded by another illusion hopelessly waiting for a magical drop of water: a tear?

What do plastic bags represent? An impossible dream of lightness? A profound superficiality? A playful illusion?

Maybe we’ve cultivated plastic bags to create a fabulous garden that even nature can envy.

But will there be a happy ending?

From the top of tower Rapunzel is shouting for help!

About Claudia Borgna

Claudia Borgna artist

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