April 16, 2015 – What is luxury? In its new exhibition (will end in June 2016), Wertpapierwelt examines various aspects of this age-old question. Just for once the latest collection of a hip luxury label is not being presented in the opulent atmosphere of a flagship store but rather the shares and bonds of the companies that produced them. Using these securities from the luxury goods industry, the exhibition investigates the complexity of this subject along with all its social and economic facets.
Which food is luxury?
The question as to the meaning of luxury is repeatedly raised in four subject areas. Foodstuffs, alcohol and tobacco are the focus of “my meals”, while classic luxury goods such as jewelry, watches, cars, fashion and perfume are the subject of “my style”. “My leisure time” looks into the many ways that people spend this free time, thereby making the leisure industry an economic factor. “My day-to-day life” not only examines the dream of having one’s one home but also how luxury articles evolve into everyday objects. Depending on time, place and a person’s position in society, luxury is always relative. What is already luxury for one person is just part of someone else’s everyday life.
Share of Rolls-Royce.
The exhibition traces the different emotions that the mere word luxury evokes in each and every one of us. Although only the very few can afford to indulge in the carefree enjoyment of life, it is something that a lot of others dream about. In contrast, other people find luxury dissolute. They find that its ostentation serves a privileged elite primarily as a means of setting themselves apart from those lower down the ladder and of cementing the differences in our society. But not only the emotional side of luxury is examined in the exhibition; its economic side is considered, too.
Share of Tiffany.
The luxury business has long become an important sector of the economy. Even during the financial crisis people bought luxury goods totaling some EUR 200 billion across the globe. A product is only a luxury, however, as long as it is in short supply and expensive. Refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and cars, which used to be considered luxury items, are now almost part of the standard inventory of every household. The more former luxury items are perceived as everyday objects in society, the more in turn those who are privileged will want to set themselves apart from the masses with new objects. The yearn for luxury thus also leads to innovation and technical progress.
Share of the “Nederlandschen Cocaïnefabriek”.
Visitors to the exhibition will watch an introductory film that will encourage them to think about their own personal view of luxury. Numerous objects displayed in display cabinets that can be assigned to individual aspects of luxury will provide them with additional food for thought. Here everyone can decide for themselves where to draw the line between luxury and decadence and between desirable comforts and waste.
Address: Wertpapierwelt, Baslerstrasse 90, 4600 Olten, phone: +41 58 399 6622,
Opening hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Guided tours for groups can be arranged upon request.
For further information please visit the website of Wertpapierwelt.