Thomas Demand, Nationalgalerie
Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Germany 2009
Client: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Caruso St John collaborated with the artist Thomas Demand on the design of this exhibition of his work at Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. The thirty-five works in the exhibition relate to social and historical events in Germany since 1945. The exhibition in 2009 was planned to coincide with the anniversaries of two pivotal historical events in German history: the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany sixty years before and the fall of the Berlin Wall forty years later.
The design takes a cue from the building’s inaugural exhibition, in which paintings by Paul Klee were installed on floating panels. This method of installation had been the architect’s intended strategy for mounting exhibitions in the fully glazed upper room of the Museum. In the exhibition, the upper room was divided into a sequence of large spaces, formed with thick woollen curtains suspended from the ceiling. The sequence of room-like spaces disrupted the symmetry of the gallery’s plan, and the soft surface of the curtains formed a tonal contrast with the high-gloss finish of the photographs. The muted palate related broadly to the works on show. Vitrines designed jointly with the artist were closely related to the works and contained German and English language versions of short texts that were written by the playwright Botho Strauss to accompany the images on display.
Staatliche Museeen zu Berlin
Freunde der Neuen Nationalgalerie
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John