Aug 22, 2022–Feb 26, 2023

The Neue Nationalgalerie

Its Architect and Its Building History
Potsdamer Straße 50, 10785 Berlin
Tue-Wed 10 am-6 pm, Thu 10 am-8 pm, Fri-Sun 10 am-6 pm

For its reopening the Neue Nationalgalerie is devoting a special exhibition area to the history of its building and the work of its architect, Mies van der Rohe. The two major emphases are on the period of its construction (1965–1968) and its thorough refurbishment by David Chipperfield architects over the past six years (2015–2021). Selected works of art from the Nationalgalerie’s collection relating to the museum’s architecture supplement the documentary exhibit. Along with works by Josef Albers and Isa Genzken, most recent works by Michael Wesely and Veronika Kellndorfer dealing with the renovation are on display.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
The Neue Nationalgalerie is considered a major example of 20th-century Western architecture. In this exhibition the building’s place in the work of Mies van der Rohe (Aachen 1886–1969 Chicago) is illustrated. His design and building activity touched on very similar themes throughout his career. He began developing the radical idea of an open space as free of supports as possible in the 1920s, one in which interior and exterior could flow into each other. His buildings are characterized by grandeur and a striving for perfection. In addition, they feature clarity and reduction with a simultaneous richness of furnishings and often visually staged construction elements.

Architectural History of the Neue Nationalgalerie
The exhibit in the northern area of the lower level, behind the cloakroom, shows a series of building types that Mies designed during his working years in Berlin (1906–1938) and after his emigration to the United States in the 1950s. It shows how these paved the way for his final work: the Neue Nationalgalerie. His large design model from 1968 is displayed along with original floor-plans of the upper hall and the lower level and collages illustrating the overall design concept. In addition, a short video clip brings the history of the house to life with historical photos from the construction period and the opening accompanied by recorded comments from the architect himself.

Refurbishmen: As much Mies as possible
Original furnishings like a "Barcelona Chair" used in the museum since 1968 and a glass side table illustrate both Mies’s insistence on designing every feature of his buildings and the building’s indebtedness to its time. The general restoration by David Chipperfield Architects undertaken under the motto: "As much Mies as possible" emphasised those characteristics. Photos of the refurbishment process and original samples such as a floor tile, a ceiling element, and an exit light show the degree to which the refurbishment touched on the building’s every detail.

Curated by Uta Caspary