since 18 February 2012

The re-opening of the Modern Collection is the prelude to redesigning the presentations of major collections in the MKG. The new permanent exhibition recounts in six main chapters the story of the dawning Modern Period, the throwing off of traditional aesthetics and the search for simplicity and functional design. Visitors can expect to see a new presentation in renovated rooms which brings together furniture, craftwork, product design, photography and fashion in one great unity and brings to life vividly the spirit of those times. The exhibition ranges from the first World Exhibitions in the 19th century as a collection of stylistic models to be emulated up to the ideas of the Bauhaus, the “new living” of the 1920s and the progressive educational theories of the Reformpädagogik movement. It brings back to life the legendary Expressionist artists’ parties and at the same time illustrates the backward-looking, bombastic stylistic pluralism of the period. A room devoted to the artist Peter Behrens (1868-1940) is exemplary for the way in which artists were feeling their way towards a form of expression between art and industrial production. Art photography, too, develops a “new way of seeing” employing techniques borrowed from painting. Architects and designers tried in their designs to create a universal world order and, later, embark on entirely new paths of abstractionism. Simultaneously, and in complete contrast to these design principles, there is a new need for exclusive, hand-made and unique works and luxury design. This trend is particularly apparent in the models of famous fashion designers like Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Paul Poiret (1879-1944) or Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949). The complete itinerary begins with the Milde-Speckter rooms and the Louis Seize room, which were already opened in 2011.  On 18th and 19th February the MKG invited guests to a large-scale art party with Expressionist dance performances, veil dances, fashion performances and text collages. You can view here how the dancers from the Hamburg College of Music and Dramatic Art lovingly filled the fascinating costumes with new life through their marvellous enthusiasm.

We have been enabled to make the new presentation of the Modern Period thanks to funds from the special exhibition fund of the Hamburg Department of Culture as well as by the generous support of numerous room sponsors.

Abb.: Lavinia Schulz und Walter Holdt, Maskenfigur Tobbogan, um 1923, Foto: Maria Thrun