Kéré Architecture has recently completed the scenography for “Racism. The Invention of Human Races,” an exhibition at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden. The atmospheres within each of the three spaces are unique yet harmonious, aiming to connect “the rooms’ architecture with the rooms’ theme.” Using a variety of high-quality materials and engaging structures, the journey hopes to show a conflict between people’s desires for stability and the organic need for social transformation, emphasizing the charm of the temporary and importance of conversation.
A peaceful coexistence of people within a community can only be achieved thanks to a collective consciousness as well as reactions to social change processes.
The first room “sprawls over the visitor” with a modular wooden grid, spanning across the entire space. Due to the installation’s gridded nature, the room’s spatial order becomes reminiscent of the strict classification of European Modernist science, while the deliberately dimmed lighting enhances the individual character of the wood itself. This uniqueness of surface is symbolic of the artwork within the room, in particular, the series of colorless, sculpted heads, all from different cultures, that sit idle within the skeletal structure.
The second room creates a platform to exhibit and analyze the artwork that was defamed or confiscated by the Nazi Party as part of their extensive propaganda movement during the 1930s and 40s. “An artistic gesture that mimics the effect of the pure concrete,” Kéré Architects apply a cold, confrontational surface treatment to the several walls that define the space, and in doing so create an “austere and monumental atmosphere.” Highlighting the silenced art within the context of the bare, exposed room, the user is allowed to focus and reflect upon the historic significance of the content.
The final room directs the emphasis toward conversation, inviting people to exchange the important, arising questions of society. Integrated seating elements, a large canopy and ample central space encourage people to gather, the room being directly influenced by Kéré’s West African homeland, where “all social gatherings happen under the large crowns of the trees”. The structure takes inspiration from Shigeru Ban in the extensive use of cardboard tubes. This uncommon material becomes a metaphor for society’s impermanent nature, emphasizing how fragile a community can be. Towering towards the ceiling, the architect hopes the tubes echo “the essential values that hold a society together.”
What connects us, what separates us, who do we want to be together? Those questions are intended to stimulate the visitors to exchange ideas while sitting under the roof.
Title: Racism. The Invention of Human Races
Location: Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden
Exhibition Dates: 19th May 2018 to 06th January 2019
Architect: Diebedo Francis Kéré
Design team: Johanna Lehmann, Andrea Maretto, Blake Villwock, Adriana Arteaga
Support team: Laura Bornet, Valeria Molinari
Museum: Deutsches Hygiene-Museum
Curator: Susanne Wernsing
Construction: Wolfgang Matzat, Zumholz Möbel KG/Berlin, Werkstätten des Deutschen Hygiene-Museum
Clients: Deutsches Hygiene-Museum
Building Area: 830sqm
Design and Planning Phase: January 2017 to April 2018
Construction Phase: April 2018 to May 2018
Status: On Display at Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden until January 6th, 2019
News via: Kéré Architecture