- The reopening of the MKG, Hamburg where culture is accessible again
Albeit with every precaution to protect us - from face masks to physical distancing - from 7 May 2020, it will again be possible to visit MKG, the museum of arts and crafts in Hamburg.
Before it closed, it was exhibiting “The Poster. 200 Years of Art and History”. With nearly 400 exhibits by around 200 artists and designers, the exhibition offers a large-scale, representative overview of the history of the poster from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century to today. Art and history, design and advertising all meet in this visual advertising medium. Posters accompany political events as well as film and theatre history. They document social developments and reflect changing artistic styles. Good posters send a multi-layered message with a cultural substrate, adding the value that can turn a poster into a work of art. Much more than merely advertising a product, posters are still used to broadcast political messages, revolutionary ideas or educate people. So, federal government posters are appealing to people to look after each other and comply with physical distancing and hygiene regulations.
In addition to this exhibition, we can also enjoy the invention of adjustable light, which we have doubtless used a lot over these weeks at home, with “100 Years of Positionable Light: The Origins and Relevance of Adjustable Lighting”. Here, the curators of MKG show us how, with the first adjustable electric light in 1919, Curt Fischer (1890–1956), founder of the lamp manufacturer Midgard, set a milestone in an era of rapid industrialization, revolutionizing our comfort at home and work and opening new design frontiers.
And if you’ve (re)discovered your artistic vein over the past few weeks but you’re worried that you might not be particularly original, then here is “Copy & Paste. Repetition in Japanese Imagery”. In Japanese culture, repetition and copying are regarded as the basis for artistic creation. Far removed from the paradigm of originality in European modernism, in Japanese art imitation and duplication are a matter of course. They are seen to be a homage to early masters and are openly practised as age-old pictorial traditions. In the exhibition, over 100 sketches, colour woodcuts, hanging scrolls, books, and screens from the East Asia Collection of the MKG museum provide insights into the foundations of Japanese visual culture in the late Edo (1603–1868) and Meiji (1868–1912) periods. Copy & Paste traces the creation, further development, distribution, and adaptation of pictorial motifs in Japanese culture to this day.
The MKG will be opening to visitors again on 7 May, implementing all the safety measures required for the general public and staff alike. As the museum’s director, Tulga Beyerle says, “Culture gives us a clear vision and opens up new prospects and opportunities. Museums can provide valuable stimuli in their function as cultural memory.”
With its motto, #culturedoesntstop MKG is continuing its online activities on Facebook and Instagram. You can also visit the MKG collection online at any time and get some inspiration from the digital displays and ideas for do-it-yourself.
Museo MKG, Amburgo, Germania
The Poster. 200 Years of Art and History, until September 20, 2020
Copy & Paste. Repetition in Japanese Imagery, from May 7 to August 30, 2020
100 Years of Adjustable light. Origin and Relevance of Adjustable Lightung, until June 1, 2020
Images: see captions