FIßLER & KOLLEGEN
Museale Exponatpräsentation / museum exhibit presentation
Art Handling, Mount Handling, Exhibit Installation
Our well attuned teams have been providing services for exhibition projects involving sensitive cultural assets of any kind of exhibits ever since 2004.
Our field of activity encompasses any kind of work in the immediate vicinity of exhibits. To design and manufacture customized presentation aids, installations or mounts, and to prepare concepts for the design within the context of exhibitions. In the course of rendering services for numerous permanent exhibitions or special shows, we have developed our own way of presenting objects, specifically in terms of artifacts. Our activity is focused on taking into consideration current museum standards as well as recognized policies regarding the handling of cultural assets according to the Code of Ethics – ICOM (International Council of Museums). We closely cooperate with curators, restorers, architects and designers.
In addition to 11 active partners, we employ more than 30 experienced freelancers whose services we use on a temporary basis depending on the collection range and our commitment.
- to design presentation aids
- to manufacture presentation aids
- installations and mounts
- individual framing
- creative counseling
- handling of cultural assets
- project management
BETWEEN GRAVITATIONAL FORCE AND FEATHERWEIGHT:
THE PRACTICE OF MOUNT MAKING
by Bertram Haude
In his text on the origin of museums, Krzysztof Pomian (1) identifies two fundamental ways in which people handle objects: we use and need them, or we throw them away because they are or have become useless. But it is very quickly clear that there are still other ways of treating objects because we do ascribe certain characteristics to objects that are not always based on their usefulness. These objects are then taken out of mundane circulation and usually stored in separate spaces. Today, the museum very obviously belongs to the types of spaces in which objects are evaluated according to their meaning. Once objects enter a museum collection, they are no longer used as originally intended and are seldom touched by hand. Their fate is to be housed in safeguarded spaces. Thus, these objects, which are no longer objects, are then on display: positioned and placed, inanimate and despondent. They lie there waiting as symbols of meaning, as signs—semaphores according to Pomian—in storage or on display in acclimated showcases until physical and chemical deterioration or the Last Judgment put an end to it.
“Every sign by itself seems dead. What gives it life? In use it is alive,” wrote Wittgenstein (2). Is it possible to breathe life into museum artifacts despite their lack of use so that they remain captivating and inspiring, or even become so in the first place?
This somewhat questionable and at the same time challenging task is embodied in the practice of mount making, which involves the wonderful privilege of touching these objects once again by hand, naturally while wearing nitrile gloves, and of releasing them from the effects of gravity. Museums repeatedly call for displays that invoke a sense of flying, floating or hovering, in other words, exhibits that are buoyant and alive. This manner of presenting objects means that the positioning and placement of artifacts takes on a more life-like quality. What exhibit designers and curators envision and desire as more airy modes of presentation, mount makers then realize with innovative customized solutions. Using special mounts tailored by hand, objects can be displayed unencumbered in space. They appear to be lighter, more pronounced and almost timeless. Specially chosen lighting significantly enhances these effects.
The scope of mount making encompasses not only the design, creation and final installation of structures to support original objects displayed in museums, but also the responsibility for measures to ensure these objects’ safety, selecting suitable materials depending on the type of objects, and for careful handling of the objects themselves. The mount maker plays a crucial role in the final and perfected appearance of museum exhibits.
Our small firm, Fissler&Kollegen GmbH, draws upon the extensive expertise of its employees who have both artistic and practical industrial skills and are able to approach exhibition projects aesthetically and technically. As such, we cover a broad spectrum of areas ranging from archeology and culture to the history of the arts and sciences. We find it exciting to work on interdisciplinary exhibits and contemporary art shows, too. For smaller exhibits, we are able to take on organizational and design-related tasks, and depending on the topic, content-related tasks as well. That all of this work is carried out in compliance with conservancy standards and in close collaboration with conservators, museum specialists, curators and architects is self-evident for us. Given our preferences and if allowed by scheduling constraints, we most enjoy designing supporting structures that have a levitating effect.
1 Pomian, Krzysztof. Der Ursprung des Museums, Berlin: 1988.
2. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophische Untersuchungen, Frankfurt am Main: 1997
The English translation of Wittgenstein’s book is titled Philosophical Investigations.
Bertram Haude is a freelance artist and shareholder of the company Fißler&Kollegen GmbH.