The Story of My Life
Object Biography as Concept, Method and Genre

Thursday, 19. January 2023 to Monday, 4. September 2023

Exhibition view, Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge © JF / Museum der Dinge


Stuhl Modell (82)5, Richard Riemerschmid, nachträglich rot lackiert, Sammlung Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, Foto: Armin Herrmann. Richard Riemerschmid © VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2023.

Every thing has a life of its own – but can things tell their own stories?

A proud teapot and a homeless drum, a belligerent chamber pot and an antique gold coin, Goethe’s shoe buckle and Lou Reed’s wax doll, a depressed mobile phone, Kafka’s Odradek, Bernd the Bread and 50 other things provide answers in the exhibition „The Story of My Life. Object Biography as Concept, Method, and Genre.“


Exhibition view, Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge © JF / Museum der Dinge


Emaille-Schild, Greiling Fälschung mit künstlich herbeigeführten Alterungsspuren, Sammlung Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, Foto: Armin Herrmann.

Countless object stories arise between production, use, loss or repair. Objects are gifted, sold and auctioned, loved and kept, collected and exhibited, they disappear and are found again, they are stolen and sometimes returned. They travel around the world or lie in drawers and depots for years. They get broken, thrown away, restored and recycled. Things - in other words - have a life. Researching and narrating them is of interest where things are produced and consumed or collected and stored.

The concept of object biography makes it possible to connect different stages, events and relationships in the life of a thing into a narrative. In this process, what is not yet known about materiality, whereabouts or ownership is also revealed.


Exhibition view, Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge © JF / Museum der Dinge

This playful and experimental exhibition tells the story oft he object biography in four chapters, uses multiple examples to explore its applications and shows what we see with it, what would otherwise remain hidden from us, who it benefits and why it appeals to us. This way, a varied and critical "story" of object biography emerges.
The exhibition was curated by Ann-Sophie Lehmann (University of Groningen) and Imke Volkers (Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge).
Curatorial assistance: Alexander Renz (Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge).

With loans, projects, and works by a.o.:
Arjun Appadurai
Christien Meindertsma
Goethe-Nationalmuseum Weimar
Museum August Kestner
museum oder-spree
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Museum der Unerhörten Dinge
Museum Neukölln
Haus der Geschichte
Leyla Acarogly
Lisa Pranter
Leon Kahane

With texts by:
Philipp Blom 
Annett Gröschner
Axel Ruoff
Elisabeth Wellershaus


Exhibition view, Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge © JF / Museum der Dinge

In cooperation with