Between Use and Contemplation - Elemental Vessels. Another Narrative of Modernism

Exhibition: 07/02 - 05/11/2023
Vernissage: Sunday, 07/02, 2 p.m.

The exhibition "Between Use and Contemplation - Elemental Vessels. Another Narrative of Modernism" at the Mies van der Rohe Haus focuses on the relationship between clay vessels and space. Already in the original living space of the collector couple Martha and Karl Lemke, works of art played an important role alongside the furniture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich - these included a floor vase by the German ceramic artist Otto D. Douglas-Hill. Continuing this conception of space, the exhibition focuses on the interplay of the house's well-proportioned rooms with elemental, wheel-turned-vessels. Through their sensual conciseness and "open form," they create a resonance with the house and its visitors.

The focus is on the conscious perception of the house space during the stay. One experiences the house differently, the ceramic vessels, taken out of their intended use, call into question habitual modes of behavior - in an equally elementary building that has become a museum of modern living. Since the selected objects - in addition to their artistic simplicity - continue to bear the character of utilitarian objects, they simultaneously evoke the idea that the house is inhabited with them in a certain way. In doing so, they put conventional bourgeois notions into question, once again completely in harmony with the concept of the house, for the senses sharpen, the vessels reflect a life that was once possible here, which in a sense observes itself.

In addition, another story of modernity is told - of the detachment of the ceramic building ornament from the facade surface, its "transformation" into utility ceramics, of the special use of things, the constitution of modern space in the consummation of living. Experiencing the concreteness of dwelling in the interplay of history and the present makes the stay for the visitors of the exhibition a space-exploring experience: it allows the reenactment of Mies van der Rohe's concept of a contemplative space - with few objects, set in correspondence with the spectacle of nature.

With works by Uli Aigner, Thomas Bohle, Matthias Kaiser, Young-Jae Lee, Kurt Spurey, contemporary Japanese ceramics by Kenji Gomi, Shuroku Harada, Ichiro Hori, Machiko Ogawa, photography by Michael Wesely, and display furniture by artist and carpenter Michele Cavaliere.

For the opening, Reinald Eckert, landscape architect and collector, Berlin, Dr. Rainald Franz, art historian, Vienna, and Prof. Dr. Albert Kirchengast, architectural theorist at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, will speak.

UNDERSTANDING MIES! Guided tour on Sundays

On Sunday, October 012023, at 11:30 am the public guided tour "Understanding Mies" will take place for the last time this year. The tour will be in German only. Admission per person 5 Euro, up to 16 years free.
If you are interested, please register under: info(at)

You can find more information on all guided tours here