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Peter Benz



Pfirschblüt & Cyberblau

Exhibition on Goethe's Colour Theories shown in Weimar and Bremen

This was an exhibition to present the scientific explorations about colour by Germany’s national poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I was involved as a designer with its preparation from May to August 2000. The exhibition was on show from 24 August to 1 October 2000 at the Kornspeicher, Weimar, Germany.

Extract from the catalogue foreword by Hansjoachim Gundelach, Design Center Thuringia:
“In February 1997, I unexpectedly met Erich Küthe from Cologne at the Hotel Elephant in Weimar. He claimed the reason for his visit was ‘colour archaeological research’ in the Haus am Horn, a Bauhaus-building from the 1920s.

We talked about this and that, as you talk, when you haven’t seen each other for a while. Of course, we also talked about Goethe – nothing goes without Goethe in Weimar. Finally Erich Küthe suggested to produce an exhibition about Goethe’s colour theory and its interrelations with contemporary design.

Though fascinating, the idea stayed put for a long while. However, in many more conversations with architects and designers I became more and more convinced that colour to them is an existential subject. How does colour affect people? How does it interact with their emotions and dispositions?

An exhibition became more and more necessary.”

The first instance of the exhibition was finally opened on two floors of an old store-house in Weimar’s city center. On the first floor Goethe’s theories on colour were introduced, and the audience were offered the opportunity to re-enact his optical experiments with replicas of his equipment. On the second floor the effects Goethe’s theories have today were exemplarily investigated through a variety of examples from contemporary architecture and design.

At the center of the exhibition was an interactive installation, which allowed the user to control the lighting of the exhibition space via an oversized model of Goethe’s colour scheme as interface.

Hansjoachim Gundelach, and  Katarina Vatsella, eds. Pfirschblüt & Cyberblau. Eggingen: Edition Isele, 1999.

The Pfirschblüt exhibition in Weimar: