Continuing the train of thought from the last post, today I want to share another method by which the Neues Museum in Berlin has chosen to exhibit its objects vertically. The concept seems simple, yet the effect is striking. In the case pictured above, shards of glass have been clipped into special wire holders that stick up from the plinth like flowers — although given the geometry of the pieces, they almost resemble cosmic debris shooting into space! With large, heavy lumps of glass providing visual weight at floor level, the projecting fragments provide a gorgeous contrast in weightlessness. As a way to use the full space of a case, from bottom to top, this is very clever. Moreover, it brings these rather humble pieces of history to life: by contrast, can you imagine the effect if they were simply strewn across the floor of the case? It would probably be stultifying. Instead, here we have a carefully choreographed play of shapes, colors, and space. The stunning effect is worth far more than the simplicity of the idea would let on; and what's more, the concept can be executed on the cheap: although this version is highly refined, a similar idea could practically substitute wire coat hangers. (Alright, just check with the conservators first!) For context, you can see this case in its ensemble of ultra-modern cubic peepholes in the photo below. (Subject for another post, this black box-with-hidey-holes approach.)
Ideas on Display
A humble space to reflect on concepts of museum display as enacted across a wide range of subjects, countries, and approaches.