New exhibition sheds light on architecture by Jacobsen and Weitling in Germany

Gesamtkunstwerke Klaus Benz Stadtarchiv Mainz
November 10, 2020

Together with the Nordic Embassies in Berlin, curators Hendrik Bohle and Jan Dimog have created the new travelling exhibition and a book "Gesamtkunstwerke", which cast light on the lesser-known works by Arne Jacobsen and Otto Weitling in Germany from the 1960s and1970s.

  • The architecture of Arne Jacobsen and Otto Weitling is of outstanding importance for the post-war modern period in Germany, but has fallen into oblivion.

    This is the premise of the new exhibition and the book "Gesamtkunstwerke", initiated to introduce the lesser-known works to a broader audience. "Gesamtkunstkwerke" intends to close this gap in the appreciation of their work with a thorough presentation of seven out of eight German projects by the Danish master architects.

    The travelling exhibition will take place in The Felleshus – the pan-Nordic building of the five Nordic Embassies – from October 30, 2020 to January 10, 2021. Afterwards the exhibition will continue to Fehmarn, Mainz, Hanover, Castrop-Rauxel and Hamburg.

    The journey through the locations of the architecture leads us to the sea, to model towns and to the intricacies of modernism, prompting a debate in accordance with Otto Weitling: ‘Pros and cons would be a positive sign because a building that isn’t talked about is usually not worth talking about.”

  • 6 Gesamtkunstwerke Mainz Rathaus Gesamtansicht 01 Hendrik Bohle
    Rathaus Mainz,1973. Photo by Hendrik Bohle.
  • Jacobsen and Weitling’s Scandinavian functionalism is a reflection of the visions of the former FRG – designs and commissions grounded in democracy, prestige and efficiency. The exhibition and publication also takes stock of how the legacy of late modernism is being handled.

  • 7 Gesamtkunstwerke Forum und Rathaus Castrop Rauxel Arne Jacobsen Otto Weitling 1976 Stadthalle Pergola Forum Jan Dimog
    Forum Castrop-Rauxel, 1976. Photo Jan Dimog.
  • The exhibition takes place as part of the German-Danish Cultural Year of Friendship in 2020 and on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Arne Jacobsen’s death in 2021.

  • 4 Gesamtkunstwerke Hamburg Christianeum Arne Jacobsen Otto Weitling 1971 Ansicht vom Sportfeld Jan Dimog
    Christianeum, 1971, Hamburg. Photo by Jan Dimog.
  • “Pros and cons would certainly be a positive sign, because a house that is not talked about is usually not worth talking about."

    Otto Weitling

  • Hamburg HEW Zentrale Hendrik Bohle
    HEW Headquarters, 1969, Hamburg. Photo by Hendrik Bohle.
  • The formation of Dissing+Weitling

    Dissing+Weitling completed several projects started by Arne Jacobsen. Showing an aptitude with international projects, Dissing+Weitling built the Mainz City Hall in Germany, a holiday resort on the north German island of Fehmarn, and the Danish Embassy in London. In 1972, Dissing+Weitling also won competitions for the IBM Centre in Hamburg and the Art Gallery North Rhine-Westphalia in Dusseldorf, establishing the Dissing+Weitling name in its own right.

    Otto Weitling worked as Associated Partner on Studio Arne Jacobsen's German projects. Following the death of Arne Jacobsen in 1971, Hans Dissing - who was Office Manager for Arne Jacobsen - and Otto Weitling were requested to continue the work on Arne Jacobsen’s many projects, amongst them Danmarks Nationalbank.