It is not as good as the book”! How often have you heard this sentence when discussing a film which has been inspired by a work of literature? “Exhibiting literature, be it the contents of one book, its author and his or her entire oeuvre or be it a genre of books by different writers, is a challenge of the highest level for the architect.
The book is a world for itself, and of course literature exhibitions are not just about finished books but can also entail fragments of texts, thoughts and drafts of literary projects, research, diaries, letters, photos, documentary interviews and film clips, all elements outside of the finished work itself. Chairs, tables, pencils, typewriters and office rubber bands etc. may be added to the list of artifacts that some may deem important to the overall story telling of an exhibition. Interestingly, I notice that typewriters are objects that awake a high level of nostalgic association and emotion in visitors to exhibitions, pencils and feather quills being perhaps too impersonal and of “throw away” character, difficult to imagine the sweaty fingers working the paper with the simple instruments that were also used by office and court clerks, whereas typewriters exude an aura of silence waiting for its master to return so that the noisy clicking of genius can be continued. I have yet to see a laptop exuding the same aura or magic, as the technology involved is less personalized, everyone has an apple even people who cannot write.
The uniqueness of the author reader relationship that takes place once we open the cover of the book and begin to turn the pages, hearing the voice of the text, being sucked into the parallel world offered does not translate easily to a spatial exhibition with the same intensity. The space between the covers of the book hold us completely, we can be transported between these covers with the help of our minds to any imaginable scenario, we are no longer of this world but in another, one that the writer created for us and where we individually finish by our interaction, we see what we can see, which is often more than we notice in our everyday mundane life.
We have created and executed several permeant and temporary Literature exhibitions. We have experience in developing interactive modules and organizing traveling exhibitions in Germany and internationally, with exhibitions executed in Russia, England, Austria, Japan and the USA.
We work closely with the client and curators on developing the right concept for the exhibition. Due to the wide and diverse range of experience collected over the years in the literary scene, through the organization of readings and international cultural events, we can say that we have a close affinity and undersatnding of how the cultural and literary scene functions.
The Literature exhibitions we have created have not tried to be “better than the book“ or have the tried to be the book, they have not tried to mimic the life and times of the writer or his or her work, they have been strong enough in their own architectural expression so as not to distract the visitor from the „world“ in the literature being exhibited. They can be seen and experienced as the „book cover“ or the pages, or the ink, the material that transports the immaterial to the material in the visitors minds.