Exhibition stories = Structure + Emotion + Attitude + Magic

Like stories, exhibitions unfold – beyond the dramaturgic conceptual work – their own life. Exactly as a text writes itself to a certain degree in a way difficult to rationalise, new connections and unexpected layers of meaning come to exist during the making of an exhibition. Right in the middle a fantastic idea is born and directs the line of argumentation in a different direction. Suddenly a context becomes visible that was hidden at the beginning. And it is the objects that are responsible for this. Because of their sensual quality and multifaceted character it is hard to force them into a corset of meanings. Besides, often astonishing effects are created during the growing of the exhibition into the space, effects that were not predictable during the planning phase. To accept this and not to deny it because of rational reasons, allows to unfold this magic fully for the visitors. Interesting, appealing exhibitions live from this in-between, this added something, this certain extra hard to explain. And therefore, apart from all achievement for clarity, magic is always at the heart of the matter.


Picture from The New York Public Library

Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. (1905 – 1920). Brush the mystic: the Hindu basket Retrieved from