Opening: The Eroticism of Things.
Collections on the History of Sexuality.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018, 7 pm

Duration: May 3 - October 1, 2018

A pocket watch with a secret rear chamber, a wooden dough scraper, a shiny leather boot, a fresh bread roll – even before Freud, people were attributing erotic qualities to things. The exhibition 'The Eroticism of Things' traces the material and immaterial production of eroticism. Shape and color, purpose and use, implicit allusions and explicit renderings all make things the stuff of erotic fantasies, while also making them eloquent documents for a cultural history of sexuality.

Kanne Muschel Telefon Erotik der Dinge
Teapot with lovers (China, n. d.), Collection Naomi Wilzig, Photo: Robert Harbour. Bull Mouth Helmet; Telephone "Rolling Stones", Collection Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, Photo: Armin Herrmann

Using examples culled from the collections of sexolo- gists Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) and Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) and from Naomi Wilzig’s (1934-2015) art collection, the exhibition sheds light on differing natures of and intents in collecting, classifying, presenting, and interpreting erotic things. The show asks what distinguishes eroticism, sexuality, and pornography from each other, how erotic objects reinforce or question gender relations, and how the everyday use of things can even turn killers of love into agents of love. The Eroticism of Things is a joint exhibition by the Research Center for the Cultural History of Sexuality at Humboldt University, Berlin and the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge in honor of Magnus Hirschfeld’s 150th birthday in cooperation with the Kinsey Institute and the World Erotic Art Museum. It is the first show in a series of cooperative research and exhibition projects the research center has planned with the World Erotic Art Museum collection established by Naomi Wilzig.

„sensing materials lab“ is a joint project by the department for experimental material research at weißensee kunsthochschule berlin and the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau.

Exhibition design: Rose Apple, Wolfgang Schneider

Media partners: DAS MAGAZIN and form


Logo HU Forschungsstelle Sexualität
Logo gefördert von der Bundesstiftung Magnus Hirschfeld
150 Jahre Magnus Hirschfeld
Logo Kinsey Institute
Logo Indiana University Bloomington
Logo World Erotic Art Museum
Logo Pro Youth
Logo Das Magazin
Logo form Magazin