Die schwarzen Jahre. Geschichte einer Sammlung 1933–1945


Die schwarzen Jahre. Geschichte einer Sammlung 1933–1945, Hamburger Bahnhof

The exhibition showcases a selection of artworks from the period when Germany was ruled by the Nazis. The artworks are carefully chosen and curated by Dieter Scholz and the help of Maria Obenaus from the National Gallery (Nationalgalerie ) collection.
The exhibition design is conceptually based on the painting by Karl Hofer “Die Schwarzen Zimmer (1943) – The Black Room” and has a visual and thematically coherent approach. The painting is immediately visible in the middle after the preface part of the exhibition.
The black wall is a visual extension of the black walls on the painting, connecting its space to the three-dimensional space of the exhibition. This black wall piece stands in the middle dividing the interior into seven different topics ( like The dispute over modern art, Emigration, Prosecution, etc…)The walls of the exhibition are going from gray to black, giving each topic a different shade of gray.
The artworks are paintings, sculptures and other collected objects (books, photos and newspaper cutouts) are arranged thematically instead of visually. With this approach the exhibition curators putting emphasize on the core problems of the era for example how artists struggle in dictatorial regimes.
The additional elements of the exhibition like the newspapers, documents are placed in cabinets these elements are contextualizing the artworks of the exhibition. Text panels next to the artworks are providing historical facts and background informations on the artists and the art-pieces.
Overall the exhibition design and its theme was coherent and consistent contextualizing the artworks of the nazi era. The curators decision to arrange the exhibition thematically instead of chronologically was helpful to get a fuller overview and understanding for the visitor.

Text Fiona Belousz
Bildnachweis Prof. Ulrich Schwarz