Neil MacGregor: Germany

Bronzefigur "Der Schwebende"
Bronzefigur "Der Schwebende"

"Objects are better than text at conveying narrative" - Neil Macgregor

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the annual Angermion lecture at Queen Mary's College. The lectures are set up by the Anglo-german Centre there and this year saw Neil MacGregor (Director of the British Museum) give a fantastic talk about the upcoming show about Germany at the British Museum. The show will try to show the fragmentary nature of historical Germany, the tradition of technical and theoretical innovation and the effects of war all told through a series of objects.

It was like having a guided tour around the exhibition itself, my favourite objects where the Geld Not, paper money used in the inter-war years when inflation meant that low value coins where more valuable as a material than their token denomination. The really fascinating thing about this ephemera is not only how it describes a period in history but that the design and distribution of it was up to the discretion of individual territories. Germany has a lot more territories and dukedoms than Britain so there ended up being hundreds of different designs for the Geld Not reflecting different regions personalities and political, social and artistic preoccupations - some showing local historical figures, some showing craft, some showing modernism and some showing anti-semitic designs.

Another of the key exhibits in the show will be "Der Schwebende Engel" meaning 'The Floating Angel' by Ernst Barlach. A very special object and loan with so much history and and narrative imbued into it.

The exhibition will be run at the British Musuem from 16 October 2014 - 25 January 2015.