Spatial Collage and the Viewers' Gaze – An (Un)Pleasant Journey

Itai Margula, Philipp Wilhelm Antonius Schnell
The exhibition 'An (Un)Pleasant Journey. The Life of Stefan Edlis after HIM' brought Maurizio Cattelan's sculpture HIM to the Jewish Museum Vienna and referred to an indelible part of collective European history from the perspective of the eponymous collector's life story. In this context, Margula Architects realized an innovative exhibition concept for the sculpture, without 'putting it on a pedestal', integrating a very specific museum space, references to different times and places in the
more » ... e of Stefan Edlis and a notorious piece of contemporary art in a unique design solution. Their spatial installation guides the viewer's gaze through space on an imaginary journey through the collector's life from his emigration to the US in 1941, to successful plastics manufacturer, and finally to famous art collector. The exhibition and the narration of Edlis' life story revolved around 'HIM', one of Cattelan's wax-sculptures, as an example of the collector's approach to contemporary art, also mirrored in the documentary 'The Price of Everything' directed by Nathaniel Kahn. By adopting the concept of spatial collage Margula Architects combined multiple references to different time-spaces, mediated via fragments of design history. A rich spatial narrative was interwoven with the museum's venue, drawing visitors in, guiding them through space and referring to Stefan Edlis' eventful life. Together with the museum's curatorial team, Margula Architects realized a unique exhibition setting for a controversial piece of contemporary art, conceptually challenging traditional notions of exhibition design, while striving for new horizons for communicating meaning, emotions, and history in space.
doi:10.48619/uxuc.v4i2.656 fatcat:lp5cqnh5evfwnl7iazclirpheu