studio am

design musings, articles and projects by An Michiels

archi/art/kolumba cologne

I had the chance to visit the Kolumba museum – the art museum of the archbishopric of Cologne – a few weeks ago.  Initially I just wanted to check out Peter Zumthor’s architecture, which proved impossible!  This museum is an amazing Gesamtkunstwerk in its own right, throwing archeology, architecture, design and art from the late antiquity to the present in the mix.

The lower, partially perforated shell of the building holds an excavation site and the former sacristy of St. Kolumba Church.  A permanent sound installation (Bill Fontana/Pigeon Soundings) mixed with city sounds that can be heard through the perforated walls create an intriguing acoustic soundscape that blurs the physical boundaries of the site. The upper floors house the actual museum, with a great variety of spaces including a beautifully paneled reading room and huge windows tying it back to its central Cologne surroundings.  This exhibition just demands attention and succeeds brilliantly in mixing historic religious artefacts with contemporary art, very refreshing to see this happening within a ‘religious’ museum.   I did not expect to find a Crucifix and work by Joseph Beuys in one room!

The current ‘Bequest’ show will run until the 30th of August 2010 and is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

Kolumba

Photos: Kolumba’s perforated facade (2007) / Madonna and Child Cologne (ca 1650) + Stefan Wewerka Chair Sculpture (1969)  / Stefan Wewerka Table 75º (2003)

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