The Museum Casa di Goethe in Rome is celebrating its 25th anniversary by opening up new perspectives on its permanent exhibition. Students from the Weißensee Art Academy Berlin were invited to design creative interventions to introduce contemporary takes and new observations into the presentation of the institution’s collections, thereby connecting the museum with contemporary society.
The Director of the Casa di Goethe, Dr. Gregor H. Lersch, sees his mission in reinvigorating and reexamining the role of the museum as a cultural link between Italy and Germany against the backdrop of European history and modern developments. In November last year, the Casa di Goethe cooperated with students on the Visual Communication program of the Weißensee Art Academy Berlin, who were invited to work together with on-site experts to analyze the museum and its collections. A workshop conducted with students from the “Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma” also integrated Roman and broader Italian perspectives into the conceptual process. The students developed a special formal vocabulary for the new exhibition elements and interventions.
“The ‘intervenzioni’ are an important first step in this transformation, linking Goethe’s Italian journey much more closely with the here and now. In the apartment in the Via del Corso, in which Goethe and other artists lived from 1786 to 1788, new, innovative perspectives on the Italian journey, the German enthusiasm for Italy, and the complexities of contemporary European history are being developed,” explains Gregor H. Lersch, the museum’s director. The ‘intervenzioni’ can be experienced directly by visitors and are highly visible. It is just a short step from Goethe’s studies of nature to a tactile sensory cabinet, from his surviving travel descriptions of southern Italy as a contact zone to encounters with North Africa, or from historical travel guides to the Lonely Planet. Central questions concerning contemporary Europe are woven into the exhibition on Goethe’s life and times, such as the tense relationship between North and South, the question of the significance of women for Goethe, or the memory of National Socialism. In the ‘intervenzioni’, the story of the Jewish father Guido Zabban are told for the first time: he survived the German occupation in 1943/44 hidden in the mezzanine floor on Via del Corso 18.