Louise Bourgeois at Deutsches Hygiene-Museum

Louise Bourgeois, The Welcoming Hands, 1996, bronze covered with silver nitrate patina, polished

In cooperation with Wellcome Collection, London

May 27  - November 19, 2023

Deutsches Hygiene-Museum
Dresden, Germany

Is this the right moment for an exhibition on the topic of Happiness? Given the current political and social upheavals, and the anxieties accompanying them, the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum believes wholeheartedly that it is. Positive emotions – according to this exhibition’s thesis – are an important factor in developing resilience during individual and social crises.

Hello Happiness! is based on the exhibitions Joy and Tranquillity, which were curated at London’s Wellcome Collection by Laurie Britton Newell and George Vasey in 2021. In its six sections, the exhibition presents various practices whereby positive emotions develop and in turn affect people’s perception of themselves. There are examples of such moments of happiness in many areas of life: the euphoria of exuberant dancing, an infectious laugh, and a meal with friends, as well as the hope arising when working mutually toward a political goal, the satisfaction of solving a complicated task, and the calm of meditation.

In addressing the transience and ambivalence of feelings, the exhibition moves from the individual to the collective. Positive emotions are viewed as a source of energy open to everyone, without, however, ignoring the fact that there are numerous social and cultural prerequisites for a successful and happy life.

Another central motif of the exhibition is the physical experience, which ranges from ecstatic moments of happiness to quiescent self-awareness.

Central elements of the exhibition are the numerous contemporary artistic works and interactive stations, most of which were developed specifically for this project. In addition, there are many historico-cultural and scientific exhibits that delve into the sections’ respective subject matter.


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