Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
- 18 July - 04 October 2020
For the Kunstmuseum, the Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel has designed an innovative exhibition scenography that is directly inspired by the setting and methods of the Kabinett’s own archive and display work and its sustained engagement with the rich material spectrum of historical photography. A succession of nine galleries illuminates the Fotosammlung’s unique characterization as an ‘encyclopedia of life’ (Martin Heller, 1989). In each room, the display invites the visitor to sample the ways in which photography presents a vast diversity of motifs and themes, from the contemplation of sets in arrangements on tables to wall projections of solitary images. The design is informed by careful considerations of the presentation and perception of the artifacts (many of which are small format and light-sensitive). These are topics that have similarly occupied Herzog & de Meuron as an architectural practice since many years in the presentation of our own work.
Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel 2020
The exhibition is organized into three parts: two groups of four rooms (Part I: Photography and the Archive and Part II: Photography and the Museum) and a third part in between that acts as a ludic pause featuring an interactive experience at the center of the museum.
At the Kabinett, the inventory and digitization process of the photographic collection begins with the historical material being unpacked and spread out on long work tables. The objects – loose photographs or albums or boxes – then follow a precise workflow, moving along the table’s length. The tables become a space of progressive discovery and analysis.
The arrangement of process material on long tables is a recurring element in our ongoing exploration of various forms of presentation, including over the years, a variety of Kabinett installations and exhibition displays. At the Kunstmuseum, more than 400 objects from the extensive collection of historical photographs were laid out on four long wooden tables. Vitrine-like lids covered the tops, allowing visitors to closely inspect the details of the original.
Blow-ups of the fragile, light-sensitive historical objects, often very small in scale, were projected floor-to-ceiling on the walls of the first four rooms. This invention allows visitors to immerse themselves in these images where all the details suddenly become visible. A quietly rolling text serves as a guiding voice for visitors in each room.
Interactive Installation: In preparing this exhibition, the project team was able to build on an ambitious collection review and digitization project dedicated to the holdings of Ruth and Peter Herzog that was launched at the Kabinett in 2015. Drawing on the resulting digital material, the i-art studio for media architectures developed an interactive installation in the exhibition in collaboration with students from the Digital Ideation bachelor’s program at the Lucerne University of Applied Arts and Sciences (HSLU). The installation invited visitors to chart their own individual approaches to the collection.
An exhibition realized in cooperation between Kunstmuseum Basel and the Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel
Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel
Director Kunstmuseum Basel
Curators Kunstmuseum Basel
Paul Mellenthin and Olga Osadtschy
Team Kunstmuseum Basel
Conservation Department: Werner Müller, Caroline Wyss Illgen, Kristin Bucher, Sophie Eichner, Annette Fritsch, Esther Rapoport, Chantal Schwendener, Annegret Seger, Lina Wyss
Exhibition Installation: Felix Böttiger, Claude Bosch, Sophie Brönnimann, Urs Cavelti, Dominique Gfeller, Philipp Gueniat, Urs Nachbur, Stefano Schaller, Roland Schweizer
Multimedia Installation: iart ag, studio for media architectures in cooperation with Hochschule Luzern, Digital Ideation
Specialist / Consultanting
Conservation (photography): Nadine Reding (fokore, Bern)
Conservation (albums): Atelier Patrick Lüthi (Trachselwald)
The conservation of the exhibits has been made possible thanks to funding from Memoriav.