Skip to main content
Abformungen von Gesichtern (Schulmodelle des Kunstgewerbemuseums), Leimmodelle/Gips, 1893
Abformungen von Gesichtern (Schulmodelle des Kunstgewerbemuseums), Leimmodelle/Gips, 1893 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin,Gipsformerei / Foto: Philip Radowitz
Top Event

Near Life

The Gipsformerei - 200 Years of Casting Plaster

The Gipsformerei, Berlin’s plaster casting workshop, celebrates this year the 200th anniversary of its foundation in 1819. Rising to the occasion, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin lay on a special exhibition, Lifecasts, to showcase the technique of taking casts from life or nature.

Tickets

Address

James-Simon-Galerie

Bodestraße 10178  Berlin

James Simon Galerie

Bodestraße 1-3 10178  Berlin

Gipsformerei

Sophie-Charlotten-Straße 17 14059  Berlin

Haus Bastian

Am Kupfergraben 10 10117  Berlin


Handed down since the days of antiquity, this technique has been in use throughout the centuries to achieve close sculptural approximations to life.

The exhibition is predicated on the idea that taking casts was the method of choice to – quite literally – get closest to life (and death). Roughly 200 exhibits – sculptures as well as paintings, books, graphics and photographs – put the significance of life casts for the history of sculpture centre stage. The exhibition’s trajectory extends from the cast of a crocodile and different kinds of life and death masks to iconic works of art in whose creation casting techniques played a crucial role.

Lifecasts is the first comprehensive presentation of the Gipsformerei holdings. As the world’s largest manufactory of its kind that is still operational today, the Gipsformerei boasts a collection comprising several thousand master models, moulds and painting models. The exhibition seeks to put on display a representative cross-section of these holdings and complements it both with items from other collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and outstanding objects on loan from Germany and abroad. A key role is accorded to contemporary art: it is uniquely suited to show how casts emancipated themselves from the subservient status of technical aids to works of art in their own right. 

Lifecasts is a premiere of sorts for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in that it opens up a new venue on Museum Island: the special-exhibition space in the newly built James Simon Galerie. The Gipsformerei therefore returns to its historical roots for its anniversary. In the 1840s, the Königlich-Preussische Gipsgussanstalt took up the basement floor of the Altes Museum, while the first floor of the Neues Museum was given over in its entirety to the collection of plaster casts. The exhibition highlights the close connection between the Gipsformerei and the sculptural holdings of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin with a “plaster cast trail”, consisting of select interventions in the permanent exhibitions on Museum Island.

TicketsEvent calendar

Find further information here

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1
10:00
2
No event
3
No event
4
No event
5
No event
6
No event
7
No event
8
No event
9
No event
10
18:00
11
No event
12
14:00
13
No event
14
No event
15
No event
16
No event
17
No event
18
No event
19
14:00
20
No event
21
No event
22
No event
23
No event
24
17:0018:00
25
10:00
26
14:00
27
No event
28
No event
29
No event
30
No event
31
No event