Christina Heurig

images · art direction · set design

Art exhibition opening 1.5.2019 “Der Sandmann” – experience room in E.T.A. Hoffmann museum Bamberg

My art direction project “Der Sandmann” (www.sköne-oke.de) opens a new chapter: I opened my experience exhibition on 4th of May 2019 in the E.T.A. Hoffmann Museum Bamberg (Hoffmann’s original house).

The exhibition contains an interactive “writing room” of Hoffmann’s main character from his story ‘Der Sandmann’.

You can touch & browse through everything and feel Hoffmann’s dark, wicked spirit.

see more in full article.

 

The abandoned study

The visitor enters a study room which he can explore autonomously.

White noise from a radio, indirect light, and dark walls create an eerie atmosphere. Lamps guide the visitor to explore the most informative spaces within the room.

 

N’s note books – the main part of the exhibition

The two art books are the center of the exhibition, which are displayed on old, wooden detergent boxes (which are ironically named ‘Hoffmanns Stärke’, e.g. ‘Hofmann’s power’). Those display wildly and complex all of N.s thoughts through photographs, old book pages and fictional notes.

The visitor is invited to browse through them, just like they’d stumble upon old photo albums on a dusty attic and discover long forgotten things.

 

It looks like the owner just left the room for a second…

The creator of the books seems to become real: Many references (created through objects and text), combined with hissing radio noise, create an illusion that he has just left his desk and might return soon.

 

The alternative, fictional world of N. becomes real and perceptible.

 

 

exhibitional areas within the study

The walk displays a wild range of fragments from the books while imitating a pinboard, which can be viewed as a space of (N.s) thoughts.

A chest displays instruments, globe and other tools used to ‘measure’ the world to illustrate the spirit of exploring reality through science.

Many details and hidden objects went into the concept to keep the viewer interested. May it be a forgotten hot-water bottle (which might even leave a few younger visitors questioning what it was), the neatly tucked away radio (which constantly buzzes) or books.

 

 

 

 Side note: making of

The completion of the exhibition in this museum was somehow difficult. It is always a struggle if you have to build something out of your reach: I live in Berlin but had to create the room in Bamberg.
This resulted in a long pre-run of ordering props, sorting out methods of transport and making planning my day-time priority to get everything settled.

Since the house is a listed building on the world heritage index, it can’t be altered like I wanted. (meaning: no nails, no glue, no nothing that could destroy the walls). So I had to think of a work-around: I bought very huge (yet cheap) MDF boards, which are very thin, flexible wood fibre boards. Those are tailor-made to fit exactly on each part of the wall so one could just press them in the corners without damaging it.
They are connected with foldable hinges to keep them together.

On these boards I stapled the black fabric. This was the main work (and took us around 5 hours to complete for the whole room). Before dressing the room looked plain white like this:

and it is just astonishing, how drastically the appearance changes once white, blank walls are dressed in everything-absorbing blackness.After building the walls the long process of set-dressing took it’s course. It is not the first time I created the exhibition (see here) , so I knew exactly where to put every prop once I ordered / bought / transported it.After all, into the set-dressing part went around 6-8 hours straight until every thing was at it’s final place, light was tested and cables installed.

Despite the many hours I had to spend in the very cold, very wet house (in winter it was a pain to live there. I can hardly imagine how it would have been for Hoffmann himself. The main part of the house has not changed a lot since 1850.

It was worth the trouble and I am super happy how it turned out.