In the new Nationalgalerie building in the future, there will be spaces available within exhibitions in which visitors can get actively involved with art works by entering into direct dialog with them. This combination of presenting and communicating art was tested at two activity stations as part of the SPACE FOR… project, which was held in the exhibition called Time for Fragments. Works from the Marx Collection and the collection of the Nationalgalerie in Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin (Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art – Berlin).

A combination of presenting and communicating art

Time for Fragments

The exhibition was dedicated to the meaning of the incomplete and imperfect. While in the distant past there was still the idea that the world is unified and complete, by the 20th century at the latest it had become clear that the world is always incomplete. There is always a perspective that needs to be added, another aspect to be taken into account, and new possibilities to be explored. So the exhibition united works from the Marx Collection and from the Nationalgalerie collection, whose parts, remnants, gaps, and details no longer point to a possible whole. Instead, they refer to the destructive yet creative power of disruption.

Play and experiment

The theme of fragmentation and an artistic approach to pieces and gaps were the starting points for developing possible activities for visitors to the spaces. Interactive stations that allowed visitors to approach the exhibition ideas and art works playfully and experimentally were created in the exhibition space.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

In the SPACE FOR…EXPERIMENTS, SOUNDS, VOICES, BOOKS, visitors were invited to listen, relax, and experiment with sounds. At an interactive station for examining works by Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage, they could discover sounds and make their own recordings. An audio station also gave information to prompt guests to investigate the exhibition’s theme and provided insight into the education program accompanying the exhibition.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

The SPACE FOR…CARDS, WORDS, BOOKS, VIDEOS made associative approaches to the artworks possible. A card game took on the subject of fragments on the image and word level in a special way, encouraging visitors to enter into dialog. A table with comfortable seating invited small groups to interact and could be used to rest or do research.

You can switch on german or english subtitles via "CC" in the video. © SPK / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 / The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., Licensed by Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York 2020 / John Cage Trust 2020

Feedback

In order to plan the activity spaces in the new Nationalgalerie building, visitors to Hamburger Bahnhof were asked for feedback. More than 90% of respondents reacted positively to the opportunity to interact with art right in the exhibition spaces. It also showed which options were used most.

Visitor reactions

“I enjoyed the different options and how SPACE FOR… made me think towards a different direction.”

“What a lively and challenging way to communicate art! In particular, the card game challenges visitors to look beneath the surface of the art in the museum.”

“Thank you! Finally a chance to participate practically.”