Reading Time: 4 minutes

Mudac, the Contemporary Applied arts and Design museum in Lausanne, revealed a new exhibition called “Coup de sac!” This new installation recaps all arts and design around the plastic bag, our shopping companion for years. This so banal object entered our lives in many ways. This exhibition will make you face different aspects of the plastic bag, from conceptual art, towards a more day-to-day approach, up to ecological matters.


Iconic object or… just garbage? In the past 50 years, the plastic bag became part of our daily lives, inspiring advertisers, salesmen and even artists.


Many people would guess that Americans invented the plastic bag. despite some patent applications in the 50’s by some american companies, it was the Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin, who invented the modern lightweight shopping bag.  It was in the early 60’s. Thulin developed a production methodology of forming a simple one-piece bag by folding, welding and die-cutting a flat tube of plastic. He used to work for Celloplast at that time. The company patented the idea worldwide in 1965. A couple of years later, several companies succeeded to overturn Celloplast patent and the boom of plastic bags started. We were in 1980. Since then, plastic bags went everywhere, representing the cheapest and strongest way of carrying your things.


The exhibition of Mudac will give you a snapshot of all of these, and more. The plastic bag reinforces our identity as consumers, allows us to take with us our dearest possessions and yet weakens the environment and make you wonder about the use of certain resources.

The exhibition presents around 30 propositions made by international artists and designers. Many of this installations highlight some of the questions raised today in a society that struggles to solve many issues related to waist, pollution and consumption. Here are some of the installations that you will be able to discover at Mudac in Lausanne.


Photograph © David Gagnebin-de Bons
Photograph © David Gagnebin-de Bons
Gold plastic bag – Courtesy Galerie Patricia Dorfmann, Paris


© Ruben Verdu

Among the artists in the exhibition, Marie-Claire Baldenweg chose the theme of the plastic bag and made the main protagonists of her paintings from the 1970s, addressing social issues in a critical tone, sometimes with subtlety and irony and most direct way at other times. It echoes Marx plastic bag with 24K gold Baptist Debombourg and David Marin confronts luxury and precarious as handicrafts and industrial, or the delicate sculpture of alabaster and marble Andreas Blank representative a plastic bag. Number of rooms present interesting works, like ceramic garbage bags by Maude Schneider, who opposed disposable items and imperishable material.

Photograph © David Gagnebin-de Bons

The exhibition is not limited to contemporary creation. It also has unique parts and complete sets of plastic bags that tell a story of culture and everyday life. These parts pro-come largely from private Swiss collections, conscientiously made ​​over many years. Often kept as a souvenir, these bags write history per se and have acquired the status of art and icons, like the famous bag created by Joseph Beuys during the Documenta Kassel 1972 for installation Büro für direkte Demokratie durch Volksabstimmung [Office for Direct Democracy by popular vote] bag worship of a jeans shop in the image of James Dean, the bag designed by E + U to Hiestand ABM distribution group, or the first plastic bag Globus / Innovation in the mid 1960s.

Photograph © David Gagnebin-de Bons

Coup de Sac! Art and design around the plastic bag has been designed to Gewerbemuseum Winterthur by Susanna Kumschick and Ida-Marie Corell. The exhibition has been adapted and expanded to its submission to mudac, including designers and artist Hendrik Kerstens, Jeremy Scott, Maude Schneider, Lea Ricorday Baptiste Debombourg and David Marin, Rada Boukova and Verena Sieber-Fuchs.

From June 19th to October 6th 2013

mudac – musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains
Place de la Cathédrale 6
CH-1005 Lausanne
t +41 315 25 30 / f +41 315 25 39 /

Plastic is fantastic…



Info sourced at the Exhibition official presentation and press release, wikipedia, All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.