DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – German Research Association) Transfer Project “Presenting the Evidenz. The practice and theory of conveying, in a museum context, the aesthetic processes which create Evidenz.”

This three-year DFG Transfer Project, a collaboration with the research group „BildEvidenz. History and Aesthetics“ at the Freie Universität Berlin is studying the structured meaning of exhibits and their presentation in museums and exhibitions. Central to the study is the philosophical concept of Evidenz or ‘immediate and unambiguous intelligibility’. The project aims to make a fundamental contribution to exhibition theory from an art-historical perspective. How can the medium of an exhibition convey and enhance the contexts of meaning and the forms of knowledge embodied in a work of art and, above all, create the effect of Evidenz? The Evidenz concept is used by the group as a heuristic instrument to classify the complex sensemaking processes of pictures and artistic artefacts within a broad context, ranging from rhetoric to epistemic and discursive notions of truth.

A vital platform and basis for research into the exhibition as a means of creating Evidenz is the presentation, jointly devised by the two project partners, entitled “Double Vision: Albrecht Dürer & William Kentridge”, which will run from 20.1.2015 to 6.3.2016 in the upper gallery of the Kulturforum. “Double Vision” focuses on the diverse body of prints of the internationally renowned artist, William Kentridge (born 1955 in Johannesburg), which up until now has seldom received the attention it deserves, and on selected woodcuts, etchings and copper engravings by Albrecht Dürer, who took the vocabulary of post-mediaeval printmaking to a wholly new level around the year 1500. Both the exhibition and the project as a whole will be able to draw on the rich collection of Dürer prints in the Kupferstichkabinett, which is being fully digitised for the first time as part of the Transfer Project and will be made available online for research purposes. The aesthetic of black and white, shared by Dürer and Kentridge and particularly reflected and intensified in their work, was developed by the two artists in quite different printmaking techniques (from woodcuts to photogravure), and is particularly revealing of the artistic processes which create Evidenz. It was this media-specific association – and not primarily the references sometimes evident in Kentridge’s work to particular motifs of Albrecht Dürer – which lay behind this epoch-spanning pairing of the two artists in an exhibition which occupies seven themed galleries.

The presentation, developed in collaboration with the Vienna-based architectural firm Holodeck, will be an experimental object of enquiry for the Transfer Project. Various presentation formats (including art education) will be modelled, developed and tested to reveal their potential, which can then be fruitfully applied in other constellations of history and culture.  

Contacts: Dr. Andreas Schalhorn & Dr. Elke Anne Werner (FU Berlin)
Collaborator and DFG grant applicant: Kolleg-Forschergruppe “Bild Evidenz. Geschichte und Ästhetik” at the FU Berlin (Prof. Dr. Klaus Krüger, Dr. Elke Anna Werner)
Financed by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Exhibition)
Duration of the project: January 2015 to December 2017