Kleine Humboldt Galerie (KHG) is a student-run initiative curating and presenting bi-annual art exhibitions at Humboldt University. The atrium in the university’s main building has served as an exhibition space since the re-foundation of KHG in 2009. Past exhibitions have dealt with diverse subjects such as educational politics, feminism, the dream of a universal language, cultures of political protest in contemporary art and scientific methods of visualization.


KHG aims to re-establish a tradition of exhibiting at Humboldt Universität, which can be traced back to the university’s founding years. Back then, objects from the royal art collection were transferred to the institution and scientific collections were presented in the hallways. Back then stumbling across a mammoth’s teeth or plaster casts of antique sculptures while walking from lecture to lecture wasn’t uncommon. By recognizing the role of contemporary art in research and education and presenting it alongside objects from visual culture – mass media, scientific preparations, everyday objects – the epistemic value of images and objects is once again appreciated.

In addition to a thematic reference to the university, the focus is on the architecture and history of the exhibition space. Opened in 2009 as an event venue for Humboldt University, the eastern atrium with its striking architectural features is anything but a white cube. Yet it is precisely this that calls for a creative approach to the spatial conditions. The building itself – built in the 18th century as a prince’s palace – also offers plenty of historical material that needs to be treated both artistically and curatorially. 


This provides the framework in which to think experimentally about contemporary exhibitions and search for new curatorial approaches.

The installation of the works is intended to formally take up the respective exhibition theme and contribute to conveying the content. In keeping with the interdisciplinary orientation of the Kleine Humboldt Galerie’s exhibition work, the curatorial team is also made up of students from a wide range of disciplines. The exhibitions take place under alternating management, whereby the entire team is involved in the development and realization of each exhibition. Participation is open to interested students from all disciplines and universities in Berlin.


Our work is gratefully supported by the Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik, the public relations staff and the university library of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Humboldt-Universitäts-Gesellschaft, the Verein zur Förderung des Instituts für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte der Universität and many other supporters, without whom the exhibitions of the Kleine Humboldt Galerie could not be realized.





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