Encountering empty architecture: Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin

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This essay is published in the Festschrift to art historian Donald Preziosi on his 75th birthday in 2016 and delves into the exploration of architectural perception and semiotic experience. The argument is the following:
Claire Farago and Donald Preziosi once pointed out how recent art museums by architect Daniel Libeskind allow for altered relationships between exhibitions and visitors. Indeed, when Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin was first opened in a vacant state during the years 1999-2001, the building itself provided the exhibit for initiatory visits.
The present study hightlights the fragmentary process of groundbreaking encounters with this building. The text shows how an embodied and reflexive experience of its architectural interiors and dis-courses go beyond the simplistic symbolism one finds in mainstream interpretations of Libe-skind’s architecture as well as in certain discourses by Libeskind himself. In reality, his ext-ra-functional architecture in Berlin and his early presentations of it constitute a kaleidoscopic field of experience in which critical self-reflexion may occur.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15/HR1
JournalJournal of Art Historiography
Issue number15 Tribute to Donald Preziosi on his 75th birthday (Festschrift)
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

The present study contains five photographs by the author of Daniel Libeskinds Jewish Museum Berlin; four in black/white (taken 1999), one i color (taken 2009).

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Donald Preziosi (1941-), Daniel Libeskind (1946-), Jewish Museum Berlin , Architectural perception, Architectural representation, Palimpsest, Semiotics, Meaning making, Anamorphosis, Photography, Sequential perception

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