The Laboratory Concept, Probebühne 7 and
“Historical Collections and Contemporary Art” symposium

The Laboratory Concept, Probebühne 7 and
“Historical Collections and Contemporary Art” symposium

Humboldt Lab Dahlem

Sunah Choi, Belichtet (detail), 2015. Cyanotype on watercolor paper, 77 x 56 cm. © Sunah Choi.
June 22, 2015
The Laboratory Concept, Probebühne 7 and “Historical Collections and Contemporary Art” symposium

June 25–October 18, 2015

Opening: June 24

Dahlem Museums, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Lansstraße 8
14195 Berlin

Exhibitions with different approaches show what contemporary presentations of non-European historical collections can look like.

A final exhibition as well as the last Probebühne will undertake a review of the collaborative experimental exhibition program by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).

The Laboratory Concept, the concluding exhibition of the Humboldt Lab Dahlem, is a retrospective, a perspective and a synthesis all in one. All the experiments that took place from 2012 through 2015 and which were subsequently discussed within the seven Probebühnen are to be displayed and reflected upon—including their premises, aims, experimental forms and their outcomes.

Of particular note here are the protagonists’ perspectives: those who have shaped the Humboldt Lab and who will be contributing to the development of the Humboldt-Forum itself: What aspect of the Humboldt Lab fascinated them especially? What ideas do they consider to be practical? In what form? And how will the discourse be maintained?

Among the projects of the Probebühne 7 there is a mediation laboratory for teenagers, an online communication platform developed with representatives from one collection’s region of origin, as well as various artistic interventions. Symposia and workshops are other integral aspects of the program—the discussion remains as lively as ever. Two projects show works of art by contemporary artists that enter into a dialog with the historical collections:

The artistic interventions for Knight Moves–Again expand upon the permanent exhibitions in the Ethnologisches Museum with artistic perspectives in selected locations. The inspiration for this came about—as previously in the Probebühne 1—from the eponymous chess figure, which can make surprising moves. Accordingly, the lateral thought patterns promoted by this project permit leaping over thematic, regional, cultural and chronological hurdles and thinking outside the box.

The curator Angela Rosenberg invited four international artists living in Berlin to present selected exhibits in a new way: Nevin Aladağ, Kader Attia, Sunah Choi and Mathilde ter Heijne. Their interventions are examples of the possibilities inherent in a subjective conversation with artifacts from the collections, that can complement the scientific discourse of museum presentations both in terms of form and content.

Is it possible to create a space or a setting with regional character, but which avoids clichés and takes us beyond folkloric impression and a mere referencing of local aesthetic idiom? This question is examined by the curator Uta Rahman-Steinert together with the artists Jaeeun Choi, Inhwan Oh, Jae Yong Rhee, Meekyoung Shin and MinHwa Sung for the Korean collection in the future Humboldt-Forum. The aim is to give a greater emphasis to the relatively small number of artifacts of Korean provenance housed by the Museum für Asiatische Kunst by means of unusual scene-setting. This collaboration also questions the interpretational hierarchy of the museum as an institution, in terms of design and presentation. At the same time it creates a direct relationship with the present, by positioning itself in terms of identity and tradition. The design ideas are presented together with exemplary works by the artists.

“Historical Collections and Contemporary Art: A Discussion on Curatorial Strategies” symposium, Thursday, July 2, and Friday, July 3, Dahlem Museums
In July, the next symposium of the series “Asking Questions” will take place: The Humboldt-Forum will be an institution that aims to promote discourse on the arts and cultures from different regional and historical contexts. Where do the two museums—the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst—see their positioning within the discourse on what is (not) considered art?

During the symposium, not only the various art terminologies will be discussed but also particularly the question: What curatorial strategies for the presentation of contemporary art in the Humboldt-Forum make sense? Experiences gathered in the Humboldt Lab will also provide a contribution to the discussion.

Anke Bangma, National Museum of World Cultures, Amsterdam / Jaqueline Berndt, Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto / Lena Fritsch, Tate Modern, London / Ursula Helg, Freie Universität, Berlin / Viola König, Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin / Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA / Julia Orell, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles / Kerstin Pinther, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich / Lisl Ponger, Artist, Vienna / Angela Rosenberg, curator, Berlin / Klaas Ruitenbeek, Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin / Britta Schmitz, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin / Agnes Wegner, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin / Tobias Wendl, Freie Universität, Berlin / Elena Zanichelli, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany

Registration requested, more information here.

Further events will be announced in advance in the newsletter.


About Humboldt Lab Dahlem
For the past three years the Humboldt Lab Dahlem has been accompanying the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum) of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) on their journey to become the Humboldt-Forum, and with its exhibitions, events and discussions under the Probebühne (rehearsal stage) title, it regularly provides inspiration and new impulses for the planning process. The following individuals, among others, have contributed to the first five editions since 2013: artists Waseem Ahmed, Yael Bartana, Theo Eshetu, Alexandra Pirici, Kirstine Roepstorff, Karin Sander, Simon Starling, Yuken Teruya and Zhao Zhao; architects Andreas Heller, Barbara Holzer and Tristan Kobler, raumlaborberlin; designer Konstantin Grcic; curators Nicola Lepp, Florian Malzacher and Angela Rosenberg as well as musician Robert Lippok.

Contact: [email protected]


Humboldt Lab Dahlem—The Laboratory Concept, Probebühne 7 and "Historical Collections and Contemporary Art" symposium

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