Video games are the most monetized and aesthetically bewildering artefacts of the present age. They have long since conquered children‘s and living rooms aswell as offices. And we don‘t want to miss them on our smartphones either. At least since the New York Museum of Modern Art has acquired selected examples for its collection, it is appropriate to include video games in the canon of art history – as a new art form.
The exhibition at Museum Ulm builds on that development and, for the first time, attempts to understand video games in terms of their inimitability as a medium and their aesthetic significance. For this purpose, the character of the shadow is isolated as a special aspect that links video games to the origins of our culture – to art, philosophy and religion.
The term SHADOW evokes an atmosphere of something on the dark side, something devious and ominous. The exhibition strives to counter this negative stereotype: It marvels at the healing properties of St. Peter‘s shadow and admires the shadows in Plato‘s cave. With Pliny, it attests to the graphic capturing of a beloved‘s silhouette and watches a statue brought to life step out from under the shadow of its creator. It observes how Peter Schlemihl‘s shadow disappears and how Peter Pan stitches his shadow back on. Based on the myths of the origins of image representation, the exhibition draws conclusions for a deeper understanding of video games.
Following the theme of the shadow, the exhibition combines popular and yet to be discovered video games with early modern paintings, baroque emblem and contemporary children’s books, with graphic novels, illustrations, advertising posters, photographs, films, shadow puppets and multi-media installations. It attests that video games have indeed arrived in the very heart of ‘high culture’.
: An extensively illustrated publication with a preface by Dr. Stefanie Dathe and an essay by Prof. Dr. Thomas Hensel will accompany the exhibition. For our young visitors, a new detective booklet serves to explore the exhibition.