Gilgamesh – Exhibition
About the project

The exhibition “Gilgamesch. Archäologie einer unsterblichen Gestalt im Alten Orient” provides an insight into one of the oldest literary texts known today – the epic of Gilgamesh, the mythical king of ancient Uruk. This fascinating 5-millenia-old epic tells the story of Gilgamesh and his profound catharsis, charting his transformation from despotic and unjust ruler to a wise and righteous king.

What began entirely as a student project in 2005 resulted in a fruitful cooperation with the August Kestner Museum, Hannover, in 2007/2008, and a subsequent exhibition in the Museum für Natur und Mensch, Oldenburg, in 2009. The images presented here show the installation in the August Kestner Museum.

Being students ourselves at the time, we nevertheless played a major role in the concept development and planning of the exhibition in cooperation with the August Kestner Museum and the students of the Freie Universität Berlin. The conceptual and graphic design was entirely created by us.

In order to present this ancient Near Eastern epic in a form that would appeal to the general public, we decided to base the exhibition upon the nine most exciting episodes of Gilgamesh’s journey. In this way, the visitor would virtually follow in Gilgamesh’s footsteps by being introduced into the epic step by step, while at the same time receiving an insight into different aspects of life in the ancient Near East.

We wanted the design to follow this approach, and created nine different themes corresponding to the nine episodes of the story. Each theme included scientific background information and/or exhibits from different collections, a quote from the original text, and wonderful illustrations by the young artist Franziska Leischker, who produced a series of screen prints exclusively for the exhibition.

As additional design elements, large semi-transparent banners were placed along the tour to illustrate the main themes of the epic: love, death, and friendship. We also designed the accompanying exhibition catalogue.

Literature
Bonatz, D./Siebert, V. (Eds.) 2008: Gilgamesch. Archäologie einer unsterblichen Gestalt im Alten Orient, Hannover. (Exhibition Catalogue)

Schott, A. 1958: Das Gilgamesch-Epos, newly ed. v. W. von Soden, Stuttgart (2003).

Project
Concept development, conceptual and graphic design, catalogue design
Client
Project cooperation between the Museum August Kestner, Hannover, and the Institute for Near Eastern Archaeology at the Freie Universität Berlin
Status
Completed in 2009
The nine themes of the exhibition are based upon the nine episodes of Gilgamesh’s journey. Photo: Christian Tepper, Museum August Kestner.
Semi-transparent banners illustrate the main topics of the epic: love, death and friendship. Photo: Christian Tepper, Museum August Kestner.
Themes 7-9: “In the land of Immortality”, “The Babylonian Noah”, “The tavern at the end of the world”. Photo: Christian Tepper, Museum August Kestner.