Angry Gauguin, E. T. A. Hoffmann's musical automata, and the life of Schliemann: the SPK's hits of 2022

News from 12/13/2021

Despite many pandemic-related restrictions, 2021 was a year filled with highlights. And the SPK network has more must-sees lined up for 2022.

Collage of five pictures, which show museums and libraries
© SPK / Benne Ochs / photothek.net / Florian Gärtner

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Following the (re)opening of major venues in 2021 – Neue Nationalgalerie, the collections in the Humboldt Forum – the exhibition program of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) gets into full swing in 2022. The Kunstbibliothek (Art Library), for example, celebrates Gerhard Richter's 90th birthday with a first-time showing of his books, which are crucial to understanding his work and his identity as an artist. In the Alte Nationalgalerie, the "Paul Gauguin – Why Are You Angry?" exhibition considers works by Gauguin in the context of post-colonial debates and confronts them with works by contemporary artists.

The Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) casts light on the life and work of the forgotten Bauhaus furniture designer Erich Dieckmann, while the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History) marks the bicentenary of Heinrich Schliemann's birth with a major show about the exciting life that he led before turning to archaeology. The opening of the east wing of the Humboldt Forum means that visitors can look forward once again to presentations from the non-European collections, featuring works of art from the Andes, the Amazon basin, Khmer art, and the global diversity of Islam. Back at the Kulturforum, the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings) leads with an exhibition on the Renaissance sculptor Donatello, while over on the Museumsinsel (Museum Island) you can admire the pair of princesses and other works by the 18th/19th-century sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow.

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

June 25, 2022 is the bicentenary of the death of E. T. A. Hoffmann. The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage) marks the occasion with a traveling exhibition about Hoffmann's life and work, in partnership with the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg and the Freies Deutsches Hochstift. Aimed at a broad audience, this comprehensive exhibition opens in spring 2022 in the library museum of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin on Unter den Linden, which will itself be newly opened. It will spend the summer and autumn of 2022 in the State Library in Bamberg, and the autumn and winter of 2022-23 in the new Museum of the Romantic in Frankfurt am Main.

Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung mit Musikinstrumenten-Museum

With 2022 bringing the E. T. A. Hoffmann bicentenary, the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung (State Institute for Music Research) is enhancing the permanent exhibition in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum (Museum of Musical Instruments) with thematic spotlights from May 5 to August 8, under the title "Contemporary Hoffmann – E. T. A. Hoffmann and Music." On the one hand, there is a focus on contemporary musical instruments of the 19th century, with the aim of drawing attention to the famous author's less well-known chamber music; on the other hand, Hoffmann is considered as a contemporary of the 20th and 21st centuries with regard to the idea of musical automata, which appears in many of his writings. This topos, encompassing mechanical and electronic musical instruments, is covered from then up to the present day. This presentation is designed to complement the joint traveling exhibition produced by the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin, the Staatsbibliothek in Bamberg, and the Deutsches Romantik Museum in Frankfurt am Main.

The Sound & Vision Experience Lab (SV_XL) project, which started in 2019 and emerged from the DFG project on the "Audiovisual Perception of Acoustic Environments," opens in the middle of 2022. It is funded by the Board of Trustees of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. It concerns the design and creation of a laboratory for the high quality, interactive reproduction of optoacoustic presentations in 3D, which will function on the basis of binaural synthesis, sound field synthesis, stereophony and stereoscopy. The project presentation aims to make scientific methods and findings accessible to visitors to the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in a clear and 'listenable' way. Over the next few years, it will be augmented step by step with content from the fields of instrumental acoustics, spatial acoustics and electroacoustics, interpretation research, music transmission, and perceptual psychology.

Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut

The “Lyra Minima” forum brings together researchers from Latin America and Europe who are working on popular cultural phenomena – past and present – from a variety of perspectives. At an international conference organized by the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut from October 12 to 15, there will be an exhibition of works from the Fernando Eguidazu Collection, introducing the colorful world of the Spanish popular novel. In cooperation with the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung, objects from another extraordinary collection, that of Peruvian ethnomusicologist Gérard Borras, including pianola rolls, shellac records, cancioneros, and sheet music from the 19th and 20th centuries, will be displayed and, in some cases, even played.

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