Launch of the Series “In Preparation”: The Public Restoration of Rebecca Horn’s Installation “Room of the Wounded Ape”


The public restoration of Rebecca Horn’s installation Raum des verwundeten Affen (Room of the Wounded Ape) at the Kulturforum from 17 March to 17 May 2020 marks the beginning of the In Preparation series, with which the Nationalgalerie seeks to provide insight into the curatorial and restoration preparation of major works for the Kulturforum’s future new building. The work can be viewed free of charge on selected dates from March to May 2020 in connection with discussion events. Ongoing restoration can also be viewed during the museum’s regular opening hours.

The artist Rebecca Horn (b. 1944) created the installation Raum des verwundeten Affen (Room of the Wounded Ape) for the exhibition project Die Endlichkeit der Freiheit (The Finitude of Freedom), which took place in East and West Berlin in fall 1990. On display were works in public space by artists such as Barbara Bloom, Hans Haacke, Ilya Kabakov and Via Lewandowsky. Horn conceived the kinetic spatial installation, based on movement and interaction, for a building adjacent to the Berlin Wall border strip near Potsdamer Platz. Central elements of the work are a paper cutting machine and sparks of light that flash from the ceiling. The Room of the Wounded Ape was restaged for the first time in a museum setting at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. This key work from the Nationalgalerie collection is intended for the new venue at the Kulturforum, as a symbolic commentary on Berlin’s situation on the road to German unity.

Special Events during the Restoration Project

The public restoration and the accompanying special event programme take place in the special exhibition hall at the Kulturforum (accessible via the entrance to the Gemäldegalerie, Matthäikirchplatz).

[CANCELLED] Rebecca Horn’s Spatial Installation Room of the Wounded Ape as Part of the Exhibition Project The Finitude of Freedom (Berlin, 1990) – Origins, Context and Functioning

<s>Tuesday, 17 March 2020, 7:00–8:30 pm</s>

  • Lecture by Sarah Alberti, art historian and journalist, Leipzig
  • Followed by a discussion between Sarah Alberti and Günter Fenner, assistant to Rebecca Horn (1989–90), Leipzig
  • Moderation: Uta Caspary, research associate at the Nationalgalerie

Entry is free, no registration required

[CANCELLED] Curatorial Visions: Rebecca Horn’s Works in the Collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin with a View to the New Building

<s>Tuesday, 31 March 2020, 7:00–8:30 pm</s>

  • Discussion: Sven Beckstette, curator at the Nationalgalerie, Jenny Graser, curator at the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) and Michael Lailach, curator at the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library).
  • Moderation: Alice Koegel, head of exhibitions and curator at the Nationalgalerie

Entry is free, no registration required

Progress Reports

  • Thursday, 16 April 2020, 6:00–7:00 pm
  • Thursday, 7 May 2020, 6:00–7:00 pm

Tour of the temporary restoration workshop with Julia Giebeler, freelance conservator-restorer, Cologne

Entry is free, no registration required

Restoration of the Installation Room of the Wounded Ape: Presentation of the Working Methods and Results

Monday, 11 May 2020, 7:00–8:30 pm

  • Lecture by Julia Giebeler, freelance conservator-restorer, Cologne
  • Followed by a discussion between Julia Giebeler and Peter Weyrich, assistant to Rebecca Horn
  • Moderation: Eva Rieß, conservator-restorer at the Nationalgalerie

Entry is free, no registration required

The In Preparation Series

The three-part series on exhibition restorations offers a behind the scenes look at the work of a museum, specifically the curatorial and restoration preparations being undertaken for the Nationalgalerie’s new building at the Kulturforum. Following the work on Rebecca Horn’s spatial installation, restoration of two additional works from different genres within the collection is planned to occur in 2020, with some of the undertaking viewable by the public. Lectures and discussions with experts will examine each of the works contextually and regarding their functioning. Public tours visit the temporary restoration workshop.

The series In Preparation is funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media).