“What is good taste? Who decides what is good, or bad, or ugly? Although we know there’s no point arguing about this, the Imperial Furniture Collection is joining the discourse about “good” and “bad” taste by showing the exhibition organised by the Werkbund Archive – Museum of Things in Berlin, “Evil Things. An Encyclopaedia of Bad Taste”, conceived as a confrontation of historical and current formations.
Historical starting point: “Department of Aberrations in Taste”
The concept of the exhibition “Evil Things” by Imke Volkers and Renate Flagmeier is based on the publication “Guter und schlechter Geschmack im Kunstgewerbe” (Good and Bad Taste in the Applied Arts) of 1912 by the art historian Gustav E. Pazaurek. Here he developed a com-plex catalogue of criteria registering mistakes in taste of all kinds, which also formed the basis of his “Department of Aberrations in Taste” in the Stuttgart Landesmuseum. The evilness of things for Pazaurek consists in the “crimes” reflected in their execution, their design, and their lack of functionality. The “criminal” categories in which Pazaurek classified the things read like a metaphorical compendium of evil, which today sometimes seems fascinatingly bizarre and alien, yet is at the same time objective and pertinent.
Historical and contemporary examples of “bad taste”
The exhibition attempts to reconstruct Pazaurek’s “Chamber of Horrors” and includes dozens of loans from the original collection. Hundreds of other historical objects provide a vivid illustration of earlier aberrations in taste”… (read the full text on the Hofmobiliendepot web site)