David Chipperfield – Sticks and Stones, an intervention
October 2, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Neue Nationalgalerie

Duration October 2, 2014 - December 31, 2014

Location New National Gallery

The exhibition was made possible by the Friends of the National Gallery.

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[photo_subtitle subtitle=”Photo: David von Becker” img=”https://freunde-der-nationalgalerie.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/DC_Presse_Installationsansicht_6.jpg”]

With 144 impressive tree trunks, the British architect David Chipperfield (born 1953) transformed the open glass hall of the Neue Nationalgalerie into a dense colonnade for three months. The installation Sticks and Stones is at the same time an examination of the architecture of the Neue Nationalgalerie and a prologue to the monument-compliant renovation of the museum, which David Chipperfield Architects will carry out at the beginning of 2015.

For the title of his intervention, David Chipperfield borrows the catchy beginning of an English nursery rhyme: “Sticks and Stones [may break my bones, but words will never hurt me]”. He thus refers to two basic elements of the Neue Nationalgalerie, but also of architecture in general: the support or column and the stone. As light-hearted as the title may seem, this last special exhibition before the museum closes for several years is just as profound.

With Sticks and Stones, Chipperfield draws attention to the spectacular construction of the museum building, which was built between 1965 and 1968 according to plans by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). Only eight slim steel columns support the monumental roof, which appears to be floating because the columns are set far away from the corners of the roof. The two marble-clad pillar-like installation shafts inside the glass hall have no load-bearing function.

Like a temporary support structure, the 144 debarked, eight-meter-long spruce trunks symbolically support the weight of the roof. They fit into the clear grid that characterizes the steel ceiling, granite floor and overall proportions of the Neue Nationalgalerie. Chipperfield's installation creates a new spatial experience within the modern rigor of the Mies building. Sticks and Stones is therefore a nod to the great predecessor Mies van der Rohe and at the same time a metaphor for the upcoming construction site.

The interplay of openness and density, inside and outside, nature and technology creates a field of association that extends into the history and present of world architecture and circles the cultural history of the column - from the colonnade of ancient temples to the mosque of Córdoba (8th - 10th century). Century) and Frank Lloyd Wright's mushroom-shaped concrete columns at the Johnson Wax Building (1936–1939) to Chipperfield's own construction projects in the 21st century. David Chipperfield made a name for himself not only in Berlin through his award-winning renovation and expansion of the New Museum (1997–2009).

The column is a leitmotif in his more recent designs - be it in the Modern Literature Museum in Marbach am Neckar (2002-2006) with the support hall made of slender concrete columns, or in the planned James Simon Gallery as the entrance building of the Museum Island with the colonnade corridor (2007 –2017), or most recently at the One Pancras Square office building in London (2008–2013) with almost 400 textile-patterned cast iron columns on the facade.

In the middle of the Stützenwald there is a “clearing”, a 200 square meter square where various interdisciplinary events will take place.

David Chipperfield & Alexander Schwarz for David Chipperfield Architects Berlin
Team David Chipperfield Architects: Thomas Benk, Martin Reichert, Ute Zscharnt
Spruces: François von Chappuis, Forst Hohen-Niendorf
Construction: Thomas Lucker (restoration on the Oberbaum)