Exhibition // 143 Trees Hold Up the Neue Nationalgalerie

The ground floor of the Neue Nationalgalerie, a usually stark and airy space, is now filled with a neat forest of 143 towering tree trunks. Roughly debarked, the columns have a mottled texture that contrasts with the sleekness of the reflected floor. The arrangement of the irregular columns in a perfect grid puts into question notions of order and disorder, of history, memory, and the tremendous effort we place on archiving and making sense of things. This work, titled ‘Sticks and Stones, an Intervention’ has been created by the world renowned artist and architect David Chipperfield.

David Chipperfield appears often in Berlin, being the architect responsible for the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in 2009 and having an office of his architecture practice here. ‘Sticks and Stones’ is an intervention that pays tribute to the original design of the museum by Mies van der Rohe, accentuating the precision of the design. The building creates the sensation of a colossal slab of metal suspended from nothing, with the roof supported by only eight slim and cleverly placed steel columns. ‘Sticks and Stones’ responds to this design, but also offers the eight original supports relief in a caring gesture, helping them hold up the ceiling for a while.

‘Sticks and Stones’ is the Nationalgalerie’s farewell exhibit, before it undergoes necessary renovations that are predicted to last for the next several years. After his thoughtful and historically sensitive work on the Neues Museum, David Chipperfield has been entrusted with overseeing the renovations of the Neue Nationalgalerie as well.

The exhibit will be on display until Dec. 31, 2014, with various events scheduled in the clearing between the trees. Among these is a series of talks, lectures, and installations organized by the Institut für Raumexperimente, which is called The Festival of Future Nows.

Blog entry by Alena Sokhan in Berlin; Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014.

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