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User Experience belongs to the museum!

On the last rainy day I was there again. In the Pinakothek der Moderne. I love it, but unfortunately it's far too rarely "bad weather"....


Currently (summer 2022) there is an exhibition of Cecily Brown. A contemporary artist of my vintage, whose work belongs to the most interesting positions of the European contemporary scene.


The artist from London has intensively studied the collection of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich. She has taken up impulses from Bosch and Bruegel to Cézanne and Michelangelo and paraphrased them in her own painting style.


I was particularly taken with her examination of a work by Franz Marc, entitled "Leda and the Swan".


A quick look around - who knows the myth?


No? Well, I have a gräcum, but I had to think about it for a while. Wasn't that something about sex with animals? So to be on the safe side, I read it again.


The facts are actually quickly told: According to Greek mythology, Zeus, the father of the gods, fell in love with Leda, approached her in the form of a swan and impregnated her after she - as a married woman - initially resisted his advances. A crisp theme, isn't it?


Also artistically really productive, because the grace of the swan has fascinated man since time immemorial. The white swan is considered a symbol of light and purity, of maturation and perfection. It also actually stands for love and fidelity.


The work of Franz Marc as the starting point of Cecily Brown's series, has a clear and easy to read composition. It gives us well recognizable visual clues, even in an abstract "dissolution" of the image idea to find the plumage of the swan, its neck as well as the head and torso of Leda again and again in the forms and colors of the other paintings.



Discovering Art: Visual stories like TikTok, only more blatant!


Finding similarities. To find out how the artist adapts and varies the theme. This is how I understood the "task" for the visitor in this exhibition. If that succeeds, then one has actively engaged with contemporary art, can talk about it and "take a position" oneself. In other words, a successful visit to the exhibition, regardless of whether one finds the pictures beautiful or not.


All the more I was surprised that the original by Marc (as a starting point) was very difficult to find and was not recognizable at the beginning of the pictures hung in a row. Instead, a text that I had to read - honestly - three times until I halfway understood it. And the collector from Frankfurt who accompanied me was no better off, she needed four attempts.


So we didn't just talk about Cecily's paintings - which would have given enough material for discussion as well - but also about why a museum makes it SO hard even for us to find access to the exhibits.


Too bad there wasn't a user experience designer involved here! UX could help make exhibitions and artworks popular - as exciting and understandable visual stories! Like social media, only more blatant...




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