October 9, 2016 - Kunsthalle Erfurt - Two Rooms of One’s Own
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October 9, 2016

Kunsthalle Erfurt

(1) Marble bath of Maria von Gneisenau at Molsdorf Palace, c. 1910/1911. (2) Delphine Courtillot, Raptures of the Deep, 2009. (3) Jorge Chamorro, from the series "Dolls and more," 2015. (4) Wiebke Meurer, Dark Beauties, 2014. (5) Sarah Westphal, Stilleven (blauw), 2016. (6) Lounge of Maria von Gneisenau at Molsdorf Palace, c. 1910/1911.*

Two Rooms of One’s Own
Maria von Gneisenau and Molsdorf Palace
April 17–December 11, 2016

Schlossmuseum Molsdorf
Schlossplatz 6
D-99094 Erfurt
Germany

www.zweiraeumeschlossmolsdorf.de

Delphine Courtillot 
April 17–June 5, 2016

Jorge Chamorro 
June 19–August 7, 2016

Wiebke Meurer
August 21–October 9, 2016

Sarah Westphal
October 23–December 11, 2016

Exhibition series hosted by the Kunsthalle Erfurt at Molsdorf Palace, 2016
Curated by Silke Opitz

Maria von Gneisenau (1873 Mettmann near Elberfeld–1926 Berlin) owned Molsdorf Palace from 1909 to 1923 and lived there mainly in the summer. Two of the countess’s unique private rooms from this period have been preserved: a sumptuous marble bathroom and a fantastically decorated quiet room or lounge, which with its aquarium set before a high window resembles not so much a grotto as the bottom of the sea. The countess enlisted Paul Schultze-Naumburg and the Saalecker Werkstätten to design and execute the rooms in 1909/1911. These two exquisite artistic interiors are like walk-in time capsules secreted within Molsdorf Palace. They offer the opportunity to explore a more modern chapter in the estate’s building history and above all to research the life and work of a woman who is not yet widely known. Countess von Gneisenau had the garden pavilion converted into a garage for automobiles in 1914, a remarkable project that was, even more remarkably, entrusted to a woman: Emilie Winkelmann, who is considered the first independent female architect in Germany.

The exhibition series “Two Rooms of One’s Own” attempts to capture not only the biography but also the personality of Maria von Gneisenau as an author and a woman in the process of emancipation, and to reflect on her life and times through contemporary artistic approaches and media. A cabinet show sheds light on her biography and literary achievements. The countess made the acquaintance of Count Harry Kessler at the Berlin home of her half-brother Karl von der Heydt, she knew Rainer Maria Rilke, and she was friends with Sophie Hoechstetter. Thanks to loans from the countess’s descendants and from the Swiss Literary Archives in Bern, historical personal documents and publications from her lifetime can now be exhibited for the first time.

In parallel with the show on the countess, changing exhibitions of works by international contemporary artists and designers are featured in the Tower Room in the palace’s east wing, immediately adjacent to the countess’s marble bathroom. Gouaches, collages, silver objects, photographs and installations by Delphine Courtillot, Jorge Chamorro, Wiebke Meurer and Sarah Westphal have been carefully selected for this historic setting and context, or in some cases specially developed for the show. The solo exhibitions by these artists address the layers of time and the atmospheres that inscribe themselves into living spaces and look at how women are inspired by fashion and literature to try on different roles and identities. The artworks evoke a sometimes decadent penchant for all things decorative as well as the fracturing of typical gender stereotypes. These circumstances, properties and phenomena were all characteristic for Maria von Gneisenau as the former owner of Molsdorf Palace, and they have lost nothing of their fascination and topicality today.

On the occasion of the exhibition series “Two Rooms of One’s Own,” not only the marble bathroom, which has been open to the public since 2002, but also the lounge or “Aquarium Room” will be temporarily accessible on guided tours as the second of the countess’s private rooms still surviving at Molsdorf.

The exhibition series are accompanied by a publication presenting the latest research on the life and work of the countess (and her correspondence with Rilke), the architectural history of her two special rooms at Molsdorf Palace, and the current artworks on view there. Thematically related lectures and guided tours are also offered.

 

Information
T +49 (0) 36202 90505 / schlossmuseum.molsdorf [​at​] erfurt.de
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday and public holidays 10am–6pm

 

*(1) Marble bath of Maria von Gneisenau at Molsdorf Palace, c. 1910/1911. Design: Paul Schultze-Naumburg and Saalecker Werkstätten. © Stiftung Thüringer Schlösser und Gärten. Photo: Thomas Müller. (2) Delphine Courtillot, Raptures of the Deep, 2009. Gouache on paper, 60 x 80 cm. © the artist. (3) Jorge Chamorro, from the series "Dolls and more," 2015. Collage, 16.8 x 21.5 cm. © the artist. (4) Wiebke Meurer, Dark Beauties, 2014. Butterfly, porcelain, copper silver plated, each 16 x 6 x 2 cm or 19 x 7 x 2 cm. © the artist. (5) Sarah Westphal, Stilleven (blauw), 2016. Lambda print mounted on Dibond, 52 x 78 cm. © the artist. (6) Lounge of Maria von Gneisenau at Molsdorf Palace, c. 1910/1911. Design: Paul Schultze-Naumburg and Saalecker Werkstätten. © Stiftung Thüringer Schlösser und Gärten. Photo: Thomas Müller.

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