MONOCULTURE – DAS WUNDER DES LEBENS

2020 monoculture photo m hka cc 9

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Das Wunder des Lebens was a propaganda exhibition organised to promote the racial ideology of the Nazis. It was shown in Berlin at the Kaiserdamm and the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, in 1935, and later travelled to other locations. Organised by Bruno Gebhard (1901-1985), a professional physician who was known as a curator of several renowned propaganda exhibitions, including Die Frau in Familie, Haus und Beruf (1933) and Deutsches Volk-Deutsche Arbeit (1934), the exhibition Das Wunder des Lebens introduced new representations on the theme of ‘Der Mensch' (‘The Human’). The major aspects of this extensive show were 'Die Lehre vom Leben' (‘The Teachings of Life’) with its highlight being the transparent sculpture of man, 'Der Träger des Lebens' (‘The Bearer of Life’) featuring the German family, and 'Die Erhaltung des Lebens' (The Preservation of Life), dedicated to the health system in Germany. Pictorial material presented in the exhibition included healthy 'Aryan' types, different images of Jewish people, images of physically or mentally disabled people, and representations of other 'undesirable' categories who, according to Nazi ideology, were considered to be a threat to German public health. The elaborate avant-garde design of the catalogue of the exhibition was created by renowned designer Herbert Bayer (1900-1985). Neither Gebhard nor Bayer, despite being involved in the organisation of the most significant and popular Nazi propaganda exhibitions, belonged to the Nazi party themselves and had to flee to the US in the following years.

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