31 January until 21 June 2020
100 Years of Positionable Light
The Origin and Relevance of Adjustable Lighting

In 1919, Curt Fischer (1890–1956), founder of the lamp manufacturer Midgard, set a milestone in an era of rapid industrialization with the first adjustable electric lamp. In his groundbreaking “Midgard” lamp, the light source could be pulled closer and turned to either side, and the light cone adjusted to the desired angle – all with only one hand. With his invention, the engineer put an end to the customary ceiling lighting as sole source of artificial light, which caused workers to cast shadows over their own workplaces. In the exhibition 100 Years of Positionable Light: The Origins and Relevance of Adjustable Lighting, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) looked back over the history  and aesthetic evolution of adjustable lamps from the early twentieth century to today. On view were 44 originals from Midgard and 20 other manufacturers, as well as numerous drawings, patents, correspondence, and short films that told the story of adjustable lighting, illuminating parallels as well as the most recent innovations. Current lamp models led visitors try out the principle of adjustable light for themselves.

The exhibition was conceived by the journalist Thomas Edelmann. It was made possible with the kind support of Thonet GmbH and Midgard Licht GmbH.

Draft: Curt Fischer (1890–1956) / manufacture: Industrie-Werk Auma, Scissor Arm Lamp No. 110/F with parchment shade, around 1930, photo: © Jenner-Egberts Foto+Film