In her solo exhibition There will be! People! On the Sun! Soon!, the designer Johanna Pichlbauer devotes a diverse, complete installation entirely to the sun. We human beings have perfected our interaction with the sun with a great deal of design effort: we let its light into our homes, our food products ripen underneath it, our skin tans from it, and photovoltaic systems shine on our roofs with abstract patterns.
In her Copa Solar (2021) installation, a solar park goes on vacation, Johanna Pichlbauer invites visitors to find a spot on her “sun deck” and enjoy the power of the sun. Instead of a semi-conductor coating, it is, however, soft terrycloth towels that provide the underlay for invigorating minutes of contemplation. The designer designed the towels, which adopt the aesthetic of solar panels, but at the same time gently deform their rigid patterns, in cooperation with the manufacturer of terry goods, Vossen.
While the solar park dreams of a timeout, Johanna Pichlbauer orbits the MAK Collection once with the sun: selected objects tell of the design work that is required to transform solar energy into a sense of time, dreams of living, and other stories. In the process, Pichlbauer develops her own narrative of objects, collages, quotes, and characters, which all refer to different associations with the sun.
As a central element of our visual culture, the sun educes new forms of representation from every generation. With pop-cultural images and memes, as well as historical references from the MAK collection, the exhibition illustrates how the sun and solar energy is manifested in our objects and rituals, also tracing its poetic qualities in the process.