Campus - 11.09.2017 - 00:00 

St.Gallen Museum Night 2017: with nibbles of art into the museum autumn

Once a year, St.Gallen’s museums turn their opening hours upside down: their doors do not close at 6 p.m. but open for the evening – for the St.Gallen Museum Night, which this year was under the motto "Collects". Dana Sindermann reports.

11 September 2017. It is dark, there is a slight drizzle, and the air foretells the change of seasons. Autumn is a time for museums. And thus visitors are visibly pleased to enter the warm and light University Library. This is where Philipp Muzar from the student association proArte starts his guided tour of the works of art of the University. "We may ask why the HSG actually takes part in the Museum Night. It isn’t a museum after all. But it owns an important collection of art. The second largest university collection of art worldwide after Harvard University."

Letters from artists

Charmingly, the student guides the just over 30 guests through the levels and the halls, corridors and corners of the Tête and the Library. The group is astonished at the unique overall architectural and artistic concept of the Main Building. They gratefully accept possible interpretations of the works of art and are amused about the less visible stories behind them – for instance, the scandalous effect which Hans Arp’s Schalenbaum – a work of art that is rich in associations – in front of the Main Building had at the time, or about the anecdote about the valuable carpet which could not be found in its proper place for a time because of a student dare. A special tidbit of this Museum Night is the small additional exhibition in the Library Building, where letters from artists such as Miró, Giacometti and Braque are displayed. They were sent to President Eduard Naegeli at the time and also provide food for thought for those who are interested in interpreting the works.

"I find it great that we get to see things on the Museum Night which normally remain hidden to us," says HSG doctoral student Jannis Beese, "or that we go to places which otherwise we’d be less drawn to," he explains with a view to the Museum of Emptiness. It showcases an international collection of nothing – among other things an invisible painting by the avant-garde artist Yves Klein. This is served with empty cocktails and other transparent drinks.

Nightly tastes of St.Gallen’s art and culture scene

HSG student Anna-Sophia Bilgeri is also out and about on the Museum Night. She has only lived in St.Gallen for a few months and is pleased to obtain an overview of the city’s art and museum townscape on this night: "This is like a crowded menu where we can taste a bit of everything. And later we can go and enjoy the meal in full." The HSG student intends to return to individual exhibitions in the near future.

Many museums also use the opportunity to present themselves in a different way. Thus the Protestant St.Laurenzen church doubles as a music and techno palace, with the parson inviting visitors to dance with a special thought impulse. The foyer of the Museum of Ethnology serves as a stage for a jazz band. People of all age groups stay here awhile with a drink or a snack.

A collection which can be found at every station of the Museum Night is that of umbrellas of all colours, patterns and sizes, hanging, standing or in no particular order. Perhaps one or the other of these objects will find its way back to a museum entrance in the coming months.

Dana Sindermann is a research assistant at the Institute for Business Ethics.

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