Working for the Alte Nationalgalerie since 1998, photographer Andres Kilger has directed his gaze time and again at the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The 38 photographs now on exhibit in the museum’s Kabinett capture the photographer’s personal impressions from his forays through the exhibition spaces and storage facilities of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin between 2003 and 2008, allowing audiences to look back on Kilger’s many years of work. Like all photographs, they reflect the artist’s subjective experience of seeing, while at the same time providing viewers with new perspectives on the works in the collections.
In his black-and-white photographs, Andres Kilger shines a light on what would otherwise remain in the shadows. Normally, the museum’s storage facilities are off limits to the public. But Kilger’s photographs take museum-goers beyond the exhibition spaces, depicting the effort that goes into storing and preserving the artefacts, and the work that goes on behind the scenes of the museum. From isolated elements of architecture like the columns of the Colonnade through to fragments of famous masterpieces like the marble version of Christian Daniel Rauch’s Seated Victoria, Throwing a Wreath (1843/44) as it undergoes restoration work, Kilger’s photographs enable a mode of seeing that is just not possible in the museum’s exhibition spaces.
The images also reveal the fragility and transience of the objects. The finely wrought features of the collection’s sculptural works are evidence of the artisanry and finesse of earlier epochs, and are inscribed with traces of the passing of time. From the diverse angles of the photographer’s lens, the sculpted and cast bodies appear as faces, hands, torsos, and sometimes as mere silhouettes, and in the interplay between light and focus, Kilger’s work makes them into living protagonists.
A special presentation by the Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
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Rooms 3.02 to 3.05 and 3.07 to 3.12 (on the third exhibition level) are currently closed in preparation for the special exhibition Magical Reflections – Johann Erdmann Hummel (22 October 2021 – 20 February 2022).
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