Near Life
The Gipsformerei - 200 Years of Casting Plaster

30.08.2019 to 01.03.2020
James-Simon-Galerie

With „Near Life: The Gipsformerei — 200 Years of Casting Plaster“ the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin celebrate the 200th anniversary of the foundation of their oldest institution. Since 1819 the Gipsformerei has relied on time-honoured handcraft traditions to turn out casts of signature sculptures, ranging in date of origin from prehistory and early history to the twentieth century. The special exhibiton emphatically places centre stage the casting technique as an approximation to life practised by sculptors since ancient times.

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, photographs and videos – 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 1830s, the Königlich-Preussische Gipsgussanstalt took up the basement floor of the Altes Museum. In preparation for the opening of the Neues Museum in 1855, an entire plaster floor was planned, envisioned as the ‘core of all collections’. The casts were to be supplied directly by the Gipsformerei, 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.

On the exhibition "Near Life: The Gipsformerei — 200 Years of Casting Plaster" there will be an extensive accompanying lecture series.

The catalogue of the exhibition is available in the SMB-Webshop here and in the bookshop Walther König from now on.

Media Partners of the exhibition are ARTE and Der Tagesspiegel.

Offers for

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Jürgen Hohmuth

Wed 16.10.2019 04:00 pm
Gipsformerei
Public tour
Adults
More Dates : Wed 23.10.2019   Sat 26.10.2019   Wed 06.11.2019   Mehr

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

Thu 17.10.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Lecture series
Adults

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Sat 19.10.2019 02:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Public tour
Adults
More Dates : Sat 26.10.2019   Sat 02.11.2019   Sat 09.11.2019   Mehr

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Thu 24.10.2019 06:00 pm
Gipsformerei
Public tour
Adults
More Dates : Thu 05.12.2019   Thu 23.01.2020   Thu 20.02.2020  

Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Encyclopédie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

Thu 31.10.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Lecture series
Adults

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

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

Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Encyclopédie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

Thu 07.11.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Lecture series
Adults

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

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

Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Encyclopédie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

Thu 21.11.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Lecture series
Adults

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Thu 28.11.2019 06:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Public tour | Tandem guided tour
Adults
More Dates : Thu 16.01.2020  

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Philip Radowitz

Sat 07.12.2019 04:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Public tour | Tandem guided tour
Adults|living with and without visual impairments

Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Encyclopédie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

Thu 12.12.2019 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Lecture series
Adults

Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Encyclopédie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

Thu 30.01.2020 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Lecture series
Adults

Denis Diderot, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Encyclopédie
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

Thu 20.02.2020 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Lecture series
Adults

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

Thu 27.02.2020 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Screening
Adults

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

Thu 27.02.2020 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Screening
Adults

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

Thu 27.02.2020 07:00 pm
James-Simon-Galerie
Screening
Adults

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