MUSEUM ON THE COUCH Summer Term 2017

Museum on the Couch 3.0

Our current exhibition presents installations, interventions and performances from the summer term 2017 within the permanent exhibition of the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde. The exhibition runs from 24th June until 15th October 2017.

Here you can find images and descriptions for each of the exhibits. 


In her performance, MONA LOUISA-MELINKA HEMPEL expresses her own experience of being a female and non-white "foreign body" through dance. Her engagement with everyday racism is based on texts by Frantz Fanon, Judith Butler and Heiner Müller. The performance addresses a deep-rooted and institutionalized form of racism and eventually asks about the possibilities of living with it.


HANNAH-LENA ROTH challenges stereotypes of the traditional and anti-progressive "Indian" and shows that nowadays, indigenous people use modern technology in order to fight for their rights. The intervention is on display in two different sections in the permanent exhibition.


In their feedback installation, SARAH LIEGMANN, SYLVIA DREVIN, SARAH MÜLLER and WANDA SCHULZ do not only pose critical questions to the visitor, but also enable them to leave their own questions and reflect on their initial expectations at the end of their museum visit. It is a project that engages with the visitor's expectations and wishes and provides possibilities to experience and use the museum as a space of reflection, exchange, and discussion.


The installation of CLARA SEBUNYA (13x16x35*), MONA HEMPEL (17x24x34), LISA FISEL (14x15x32), VERENA SIEBECK (14x18x39), RAJA-LEÓN HAMANN (9x17, 8x32), MONA LOUISA-MELINKA HEMPEL and ANNE KÖTTER (11x14x34) critically engages with established exhibition practices in ethnographic museums, which represent cultures via objects. In their presentation of 'Leipzig natives' and their culture, they seek to convey to visitors (from Leipzig) that attempts to achieve a representative image of a culture through objects remain illusionary. (* Measurements of bottoms, depth x height x width).


Rituals of Death is an installation comprised of two inter-connected parts by VITTORIA FIORE, MIRANDA MARKS, YUEJIA PENG, DIANA SANCHÉZ LLERENA, and MONIKA KÖNIG. The first one is a short performance piece, conducted entirely in shadow and showing different rituals surrounding death in Italy, Turkey, the United States, China and Mexico. The creators aim to combat cultural otherness and stereotypical generalizations by using personal experiences and traditions from their native countries. The performance moves the concept of a museum away from objects and towards social experiences. In the second part, small interactive altars have been designed by the creators surrounding their country of origin, which include physical aspects from the performance and aim to shift the viewing-only position of a museum visitor through encouraging the use of other senses.


ISABELLE REIMANN, CLARA HOPFGARTEN, DESPOINA SPYROPOULOU and STEFAN STEUER understand their project as part of a process which intends to acknowledge and uncover the continuities of colonial past in today's society and in public space. Each visit to an ethnographic museum should induce reflection on colonial past and heritage – as a first step towards the de-colonialisation of exhibition spaces. An information chart in front of the building indicates the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde as colonial point of reference within the cityscape. Additionally, a cabinet in the permanent exhibition renders the museum an exhibited object itself.



An ethnographic museum is filled with many different objects, but what do they actually represent? In her installation, BETTINA OTTO wants to make the visitor curious about an object she selected. The object itself speaks to the visitor, almost as if it was a person they meet. The objects' 'path of life' is traced until its arrival in the museum, whilst revealing nothing about what the object looks like or where it is placed. Thus, little by little, the visitor may solve the riddle, and the object no longer remains invisible. So, which object could it be?



This question is posed to people from all over the world by LISA HORBACH, ANNA-TABEA ROSCHKA and PAULA BOSLAU. Based on the idea that culture is more than recorded tradition, but rather constantly re-generated with and through people, the video installation projects a re-telling of culture, shot in the ethnographic museum. What are you all about? What is important to you? Who or what accompanies your life? After having sent these questions through social networks, the received answers make up a diverse and contemporary collage, through which culture may be seen as self-conception, leaving room for one's own interpretation.


Annette Veit
 Tel + 49 341 97 37 220
Fax + 49 341 97 37 229
Office Hours:
10 am - 11 am
1 pm - 2 pm


Ursula Rao
 +49 341 97 37 221
Institut für Ethnologie
Schillerstraße 6
04109 Leipzig