Near Life
The Gipsformerei - 200 Years of Casting Plaster

30.08.2019 to 01.03.2020
James-Simon-Galerie

The Gipsformerei, Berlin’s plaster casting workshop, celebrates this year the 200th anniversary of its foundation in 1819. Rising to the occasion, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin lay on a special exhibition, "Near Life", to showcase the technique of taking casts from life or nature. Handed down since the days of antiquity, this technique has been in use throughout the centuries to achieve close sculptural approximations to life.

The exhibition is predicated on the idea that taking casts was the method of choice to – quite literally – get closest to life (and death). Roughly 200 exhibits – sculptures as well as paintings, books, graphics and photographs – put the significance of life casts for the history of sculpture centre stage. The exhibition’s trajectory extends from the cast of a crocodile and different kinds of life and death masks to iconic works of art in whose creation casting techniques played a crucial role.

Presentation and Comparison

"Near Life" is the first comprehensive presentation of the Gipsformerei holdings. As the world’s largest manufactory of its kind that is still operational today, the Gipsformerei boasts a collection comprising several thousand master models, moulds and painting models. The exhibition seeks to put on display a representative cross-section of these holdings and complements it both with items from other collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and outstanding objects on loan from Germany and abroad. A key role is accorded to contemporary art: it is uniquely suited to show how casts emancipated themselves from the subservient status of technical aids to works of art in their own right. 

Exhibition Opens the James Simon Galerie

The exhibition is a premiere of sorts for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in that it opens up a new venue on Museum Island: the special-exhibition space in the newly built James Simon Galerie. The Gipsformerei therefore returns to its historical roots for its anniversary. In the 1840s, the Königlich-Preussische Gipsgussanstalt took up the basement floor of the Altes Museum, while the first floor of the Neues Museum was given over in its entirety to the collection of plaster casts. The exhibition highlights the close connection between the Gipsformerei and the sculptural holdings of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin with a “plaster cast trail”, consisting of select interventions in the permanent exhibitions on Museum Island.

Media Partners of the exhibition are ARTE and Der Tagesspiegel.

Offers for

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Sat 31.08.2019 02:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Public tour
More Dates : Sat 07.09.2019   Sat 14.09.2019   Sat 21.09.2019   Mehr

James-Simon-Galerie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Susanne Storm

Sat 31.08.2019 06:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Long Night of Museums

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Leo Leowald

Sat 31.08.2019 06:00 pm
Haus Bastian – Zentrum für kulturelle Bildung
Public tour | Workshop | Long Night of Museums

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Leo Leowald

Sun 01.09.2019 01:00 pm
Haus Bastian – Zentrum für kulturelle Bildung
Public tour | Workshop

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Jürgen Hohmuth

Wed 04.09.2019 10:00 am
Gipsformerei
Public tour
More Dates : Wed 11.09.2019   Wed 18.09.2019   Sat 28.09.2019   Mehr

Arbeit in der Werkstatt der Gipsformerei
© Radio Bremen / Medeafilm / Leif Karpe

Thu 05.09.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Screening

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Sat 14.09.2019 04:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Public tour | Tandem guided tour
More Dates : Sat 07.12.2019  

Edouard Dantan, Un atelier de moulage, Öl auf Leinwand, Detail, 1884
© Centre National des Arts Plastiques Paris / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Limoges

Thu 19.09.2019 03:00 pm
Haus Bastian – Zentrum für kulturelle Bildung
Academy: lectures on art and culture (over several days)

© Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris / Musée des Beaux-Arts, Limoges

Thu 19.09.2019 06:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Curator tour
More Dates : Thu 14.11.2019   Thu 06.02.2020  

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Thu 26.09.2019 06:00 pm
Gipsformerei
Public tour
More Dates : Thu 24.10.2019   Thu 05.12.2019   Thu 23.01.2020   Mehr

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Sat 28.09.2019 04:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Public tour | Tandem guided tour

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Stephanie von Becker

Sun 13.10.2019 10:00 am
Bode-Museum
Public tour | Expert talk

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Sat 02.11.2019 11:00 am
Gipsformerei
Workshop
More Dates : Sat 08.02.2020  

James-Simon-Galerie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Susanne Storm

Sat 31.08.2019 06:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Long Night of Museums

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Leo Leowald

Sat 31.08.2019 06:00 pm
Haus Bastian – Zentrum für kulturelle Bildung
Public tour | Workshop | Long Night of Museums

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Leo Leowald

Sun 01.09.2019 01:00 pm
Haus Bastian – Zentrum für kulturelle Bildung
Public tour | Workshop

Arbeit in der Werkstatt der Gipsformerei
© Radio Bremen / Medeafilm / Leif Karpe

Thu 05.09.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Screening

James-Simon-Galerie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Susanne Storm

Sat 31.08.2019 06:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Long Night of Museums

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Leo Leowald

Sat 31.08.2019 06:00 pm
Haus Bastian – Zentrum für kulturelle Bildung
Public tour | Workshop | Long Night of Museums

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Leo Leowald

Sun 01.09.2019 01:00 pm
Haus Bastian – Zentrum für kulturelle Bildung
Public tour | Workshop

Arbeit in der Werkstatt der Gipsformerei
© Radio Bremen / Medeafilm / Leif Karpe

Thu 05.09.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Screening

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Juliane Eirich

Tue 15.10.2019 11:00 am
Gipsformerei
Workshop (several days)

Related content

Long Night of Museums on 31. August 2019
© Lange Nacht der Museen

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Activity Day for the Opening of the James-Simon Galerie on 13 July 2019
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© Ute Zscharnt für / for David Chipperfield Architects
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© SPK/photothek.net/Thomas Trutschel
James-Simon-Galerie

Handover of the James-Simon-Galerie to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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