The year 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Arthur Schopenhauer’s magnum opus The World as Will and Representation – a good enough reason to put the spotlight on the writings and thoughts of the Frankfurt resident-by-choice. Opening alongside is the Schopenhauer Studio – a multifunctional exhibition and communications space – at Goethe University’s library.
The prelude to this series of appreciation for Arthur Schopenhauer’s thinking is being held at Haus am Dom located in Frankfurt’s Neue Altstadt: a multi-storeyed mobile at the centre of the foyer focuses on the current tension between religion and science. In the course of his philosophical life, Schopenhauer developed a set of diverse – and sometimes conflicting – notions on this. The multicoloured and keyword-laden elements of the large-scale installation are thusly reminiscent of a shattered church window. The continuously changing, multi-perspective mobile constellations express Schopenhauer’s dynamic thoughts and subject its concepts to a spatial interplay. In addition, the mobile is complemented didactically by a series of posters that detail the philosopher’s reflexions.
Simultaneously a forum, a workshop of knowledge, and a window into archiving and bibliothecography, the Schopenhauer Studio renders tangible the dynamic process of collective memory. Making the process of collecting and thinking transparent and intuitively accessible, and doing it in Ferdinand Kramer’s iconic space,
is a scenographic challenge. It does not suffice to merely organize and make available the cultural legacy; more importantly, the legacy’s successful conveyance depends substantially on a straightforward yet profound spatial and communications design that provides room for individual exploration.
The communicative space is divided by a diagonal structure that charges the room dynamically and symbolises the processual pervasion of philosophical thought. A flexible modular system encompassing glass cabinets, tables and work stations transform the exhibition area into a workshop for knowledge. Furthermore, the room concept is based on the principles of functionalism: the design school’s clarity and flexibility gives birth to an adjustable architecture that provides not only space for permanent and temporary exhibitions, but also allows for the set-up of events, lectures and conferences.
THINK FOR YOURSELF
Allowing visitors to enter Schopenhauer’s mind is the basic concept of the exhibition THINK FOR YOURSELF. From the start visitors are met with topical questions that, as it will become evident, seamlessly transition to Schopenhauer’s philosophy. The visitor flow follows a central axis that connects the initial question to epistemology and The World as Will and Recognition. Subsequently, the main axis divides into Naturphilosophie, ethics and aesthetics. Simultaneously the spatial arrangement juxtaposes natural sciences and ethics, hinting at the ever-existing friction between these disciplines. Banner installations surround the work stations and provide contextual information; at the final stop, the so-called “Schreibwerkstatt” (Writer’s Workshop) original manuscripts and autographs are on display, enabling a glimpse into Arthur Schopenhauer’s work methods.