Horizons. Histories and futures of migration
30th March - 10th September 2023
About the exhibition
From the Stone Age to the Space Age: setting off into the unknown is a fundamental human experience – and part of every family history. The path to new horizons demands courage. Where should we go? What should we take with us?
In this exhibition the Germanische Nationalmuseum offers examples of those who for a variety of reasons have set off – including the children’s writer Judith Kerr and the artists Frank Auerbach and Gerhard Richter. It presents objects from our own, and other international, collections that tell stories of migration, such as that of Paddington Bear, for instance. They all show: art and culture are (also) unthinkable without migration.
From setting out on the road to arrival, the exhibition explores stages of migration, especially in the 19th and 20th century. It ends with the path into space located between science and fiction.
Why depart for new horizons? The reasons for migration are as varied as the people themselves. By no means is it always fleeing from war or natural disasters that tips the balance. Often, it is everyday causes, such as changing jobs, relationships and family, or the desire for freedom and self-actualization. Amid all the uncertainty, there is contained within every departure the hope of a better life.
The actual routes leading to the new future have always been fraught with hazards and dangers. They have been handed down from one generation to another through epics and tales. The biblical story of the passage through the Red Sea offers consolation to refugees on Lesbos today, as the painting “Modern Moses” created in Moria impressively proves, while in the early 20th century the wandering Odysseus inspired James Joyce and Nikos Kazantzakis in their works.
Experiences of migration shape the identities of new arrivals and the generations following them. They bring about change in the societies they reach: Jewish children who were rescued from the National Socialists by going to London were confronted there with war, loss and – not least of all – a new language. Expelled Germans after the Second World War built up a new existence in the Federal Republic. People of Turkish origin came to Germany as guest workers and became an integral part of the society. They are all preoccupied by the question: when did I really arrive?
The real age of migration has only just begun: climate change is already forcing people in many places to leave their home regions. The forecasts of Climate Archive allow us to surmise that this development will intensify in future. At least in the imagination, however, the people of the future will no longer settle on earth alone. The new horizons that mankind is striving towards in space is shown in a juxtaposition of science and fiction. The exhibition also presents approaches to how we might successfully co-exist here, too, in the near future – on our home planet.
300 Pages, 160 Illustrations
Publisher Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg
Languages English, German
Size 27 x 22 cm
Price 34 Euro (Museum Shop) / 45,50 Euro (Bookstore)
Open access https://doi.org/10.11588/arthistoricum.1185