Crisis and experiment – Double exhibition in Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder)

Kleist-Museum Frankfurt (Oder), Heinrich-von-Kleist Society, Berlin
Ephraimpalais Berlin and Kleist-Museum-Frankfurt (Oder)
May 2011 – January 2012
1.100 qm

Conception, design and production of both special exhibitions in Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder).
Exhibition design, graphics and light, production management, technical planning and realisation of media programme, concept development and lending work, editing and design of catalogue, event management, processing applications, cost controlling, expenditure reports, internet portal

IGLHAUT + von GROTE Ausstellungsgestaltung und Design / Crisis and experiment – Double exhibition in Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder)
Project text:

Heinrich von Kleist was a crisis expert and project maker at the turn of the 19th century who regarded Germany to be a waiting room lacking movement. He attempted to shake his contemporaries back to life with futuristic experiments, not only in literature, but in all areas of society. He developed ideas for a military and financial reform of the Prussian state, came up with the notion of a school of vice based on a programme of oppositional pedagogical concepts, designed a sub- marine and bomb post and set up a daily newspaper in the capital to act as a front for political activities.
As a character, playwright and storyteller with extreme positions, misunderstood by his contemporaries, Kleist is nowadays seen as a modern figure who got caught up in political and societal upheavals of his times and whose life was marked continuously by instability, despite the fact that he belonged to an aristocratic family from the Margraviate Brandenburg. He developed his ideas and changing life concepts out of a permanent state of crisis. After leaving the military, he changed his life constantly, reinventing himself again and again as a learned man, a public official, father of a family, farmer, book dealer or theatre director and ultimately as a successful author, something that escaped him in his lifetime.
The 200th anniversary of Kleist’s death on 21 November 2011 was an occasion to discuss the relationship between crisis, critique and reform ideas then and today. At the centre of this debate was the double exhibition Kleist: crisis and experiment, which took place simultaneously at the Berliner Ephraim Palais / Stadtmuseum in Berlin and the Kleist museum in Frankfurt (Oder). The exhibition’s thematic rooms, with the scientific and artistic objects they showed, were complemented by an extensive programme of events and activities that provided ample opportunity for lively discourse between the spirits of the epochs. Kleist’s texts, and more than anything else his letters, acted as an acoustic guidance system.