Revolutionary, scholar, journalist or Marxist? Hardly any other personage of the 19th century continues to be as well-known, yet also as controversial and misunderstood as Karl Marx. Who is the man behind this great name and how can Marx`s ideas be understood from a present-day perspective? On occasion of his bicentennial, the grand state exhibition as well as two partner exhibitions in his city of birth Trier shed light on this great man`s many facets.
Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier
5th May to 21st Oct 2018
The Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier shed light on Karl Marx and his century under the heading „LIFE. WORKS. TIME.“ Marx`s intellectual and political career was traced on an exhibition space of approximately 1,000m2. The 19th century with its economic and social changes proved formative for the philosopher and subsequent economist. This eventful and tension-filled time was characterised by demands for freedom and democracy as well as industrialisation and urbanisation.
Born into a period characterised by the economic aspirations of the bourgeoisie, he soon encountered censorship, repression and poverty. Marx underwent a rapid development from philosopher, radical democrat, to communist and social critic, and his capacity as a journalist became a revolutionary through words. After he failed Revolutions of 1848, he continued his economic studies in exile in London, where he developed his analysis of the increasingly emerging capitalist system that continues to be discussed to this day.
City Museum Simeonstift Trier
The exhibition „Stages in a lifetime“ at the City Museum Simeonstift in Trier portrayed Karl Marx’s chequered life, which began in Trier in 1818. The tour traced his life’s journey from Marx`s childhood and youth in Trier, his university years and first professional experience, to his exile in London, where he spent more than half of his life and died in 1883. The stations of his life were used to illustrate important developments and turning points. What role did Trier, Paris, and London play in the life of Marx and his family? Which individuals and circumstances influenced the young thinker? What did he think of his admirers and critics?
These and many other questions were examined on the basis of personal contemporary documents and life reports, including the fact that the biography of Karl Marx was illustrated on 600 square metres of exhibition space and a living image of the person behind the icon was conveyed.
The birthplace of Karl Marx, built as a baroque residence around 1727, has been conducted by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) as a museum since 1968. It is a place of learning for political history. On May 5, 2018, the FES opened a new permanent exhibition in the Karl-Marx-Haus. The emphasis is placed on the history of the impact of Marx’s ideas up to the present.
Trier Cathedral Museum
The Cathedral Museum will consider the topic of work, a pivotal concept in the writings of Karl Marx. The exhibition with the title “LebensWert Arbeit” (worthwhile work), addressed the individual and his relationship to work from the perspective of a Christian image of the individual. It arched from self-determined work which serves personal fulfillment, right up to the consequences of a globalized and digitalized work world. There were interactive areas along with contemporary works by renowned artists.