In the Light of the Stars
May 9th 2021 until January 9th 2022
How Ludwig II created his own stars – and how the firmament has shaped mankind since time immemorial. The exhibition In the Light of the Stars follows the human gaze to the night sky and thus into a space of interpretations and projections. Combining historical art and observation, it tells stories of stargazing from ancient times to the present day.
Björn Dahlem, Mischa Kuball, Katarína Poliačiková, Johanna Reich, Susanne Rottenbacher, Michael Sailstorfer, Brigitte Waldach, Johannes Wohnseifer ... and Ludwig II’s bedchamber as designed by painter Moritz von Schwind
People have observed the night sky for thousands of years. Early on – perhaps from the very beginning – they made out images in the stars that reflected their own world. Hunter cultures described animals in the wandering stars. Early empires saw them as celestial rulers and ministers. Priests and philosophers used them to explain the structure of the world. And artists created mythical figures and symbols of human destiny from the stars.
King Ludwig II’s bedchamber
The historical part of the exhibition revolves around the bedchamber of the Bavarian kings at Hohenschwangau Castle. King Ludwig II had an artificial starry sky fitted in his bedroom so that he could also see the stars shining during the day. After his death, the installation was removed. But now Ludwig’s stars have been made to shine again – in a full-size replica of his bedchamber set up at Museum Starnberger See especially for the exhibition.
For the contemporary part of the exhibition, artists have been invited whose works depict the stars. Their works are part of a tradition of artistic interpretation of the celestial sphere characterized by the push-and-pull between wonder, knowledge and discovery, between stabilizing order and dizzying dynamics, and between natural science and the supernatural.