Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz
Project leaders Giuseppina Orto, Nicolas Pomränke
Client Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Gross floor area 1.200 m²
Construction period 2007-2008
Hans Joachim Krumnow
The subject of the exhibition is power architecture and its trappings, comparing life at the imperial court of China with the Polish/Saxon court in the 18th century. The subject is broken down into numerous themes, with exhibits from both cultures contrasted. They reveal not only fundamental differences but also astonishing parallels.
The exhibition architecture supports this scheme in its arrangement. Each theme occupies one of the rooms, which are subdivided by black wall panels so as to bring out informational aspects such as contrasts, divisions and parallels. A three-dimensional connecting feature is a red wall of showcases running through all the rooms at right angles to the black panels. Explanatory panels in several languages discuss the subject matter, and are the only adornment on the otherwise totally plain walls.
The exhibition took place in the former residential areas of the Saxon princes’ residential palace, which are being reconstructed. The exhibition thus intentionally reflects the historical interim state of the building, which with its mixture of fragments of the original building, concrete parts from the post-war period and temporary insertions is vivid testimony to the history of Dresden. Particularly the contrast between the "shell", the minimalist exhibition architecture and the splendid, opulent exhibits gives the exhibition a special appeal.