28/Apr/2006 - 4/Feb/2007
"The modern woman's enthusiastic; all she owns is made of plastic," droned the Hungarian actress Irén Psota in 1959 in praise of the "unbendingly modern woman" - modern because everything she owned was made of plastic.


Not only were her stockings, eyelashes, and other bodily charms made of plastic, but everything else was, too - right down to her feelings and ideals. Still today we feel confident that human invention can be substituted for just about anything, until essentially everything around us -materials and objects alike - is artificial. And yet in the dynamically forward-marching "sixties" and "seventies," this entire line of thought had already taken on an edge of dubiousness and irony, as we witnessed in alarm that indeed, much too much of our world - our joys, our goals, and our ideas - had become artificial. Who today stops to think that modern life and plastic are virtually one and the same?

Soft drink bottles, shrink wrap, garden chairs - today's material commonplaces, with a host of doomsday-sayers in their wake. ...as if our lives were nothing more than dollar stores and flea-market stands; but what would happen if all else made of plastic were to suddenly evaporate.

Then we would realize that plastic is indeed here, unavoidable; that we live with it and that it is part of - an expression of - our modern experience. It is this - all commonplaces aside - that we should understand better, if we are to learn more of our world today. It is often noted that our everyday material environment is as confusing as it is fascinating, and as exciting as it is difficult to comprehend. In this exhibition, the visitor will encounter a few simple methods native to the field of ethnography, articles seeking to teach us more about a large subset of the objects of modern times, and in doing so, about the embodiment of ourselves within them.

Curated by:
Zoltán Fejős
Corroborating museum staff
Zsófia Frazon, László Torma, and Tünde Turai
with assistance from
Gábor Vályi, Julia Vörös and the founders of the collection currently on display