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Partnership project with the City Museum and Archives of Dornbirn

In the summer semester of 2015, architecture students of the University of Liechtenstein have been studying the war photography of two Dornbirn photographers, Dr Franz Bertolini and Franz Beer. This gave them the idea for the exhibition ‘Inszenierte Wirklichkeit’ [‘Staged Reality’], which opens at the Dornbirn City Museum on 23 May 2015.


In the summer semester of 2015, architecture students of the University of Liechtenstein have been studying the war photography of two Dornbirn photographers, Dr Franz Bertolini and Franz Beer. This gave them the idea for the exhibition ‘Inszenierte Wirklichkeit’ [‘Staged Reality’], which opens at the Dornbirn City Museum on 23 May 2015.


This special exhibition has come about as a partnership project between Dornbirn’s City Museum under the direction of Hanno Platzgummer, the Dornbirn City Archives under the direction of Werner Matt and the Institute of Architecture and Planning of the University of Liechtenstein, where the students were supervised by university lecturers Kathrin Aste, Alberto Alessi and Verena Rauch.


A partnership project between the University of Liechtenstein and the Dornbirn City Museum and Archives: architecture students starting to set up the ‘Staged Reality’ exhibition.


War photography – staged reality

The theme of the exhibition ‘Inszenierte Wirklichkeit – Private Chroniken einer Front’ [‘Staged Reality – Private Chronicles of a Front’] is the actual and staged reality of the photography of the First World War. The exhibition focuses on the photographs of Dr Franz Bertolini and Franz Beer, who as two of the most influential Dornbirn photographers created the visual basis for the interpretation and presentation of the First World War in the border zone of the Dolomites. Photography is often regarded unthinkingly as a replication of reality, without any questions being asked as to the truth content of what is presented. And indeed the pictures of the First World War presented in the exhibition often have nothing to do with real war situations, but rather represent realities that have been ‘staged’ by Beer and Bertolini.


uni.li sudents during the conception phase


A stimulus to critical engagement

Ten students on the university’s Architecture BA course developed an exhibition project which combines the archiving and documentary approach of the Museum with the architectural and constructive perspective of the University of Liechtenstein. The outcome was an installation in the outdoor area of the museum, along with a cabinet presentation indoors, the latter showing the original photographs. Working at the interface of the two disciplines, the exhibition is designed to encourage debate on the discrepancy between real and staged photography in the work of the two private photographers.  


Reflecting a hundred years further on


The opening of the special exhibition has been deliberately planned for 23 May, to mark the centenary of the marching away of the Dornbirn Militia on 23 May 1915. The exhibition has been   supported by the city’s cultural department under the auspices of Dornbirner Kulturtage [the Dornbirn Festival of Culture], with a series of exceptional interventions by various local cultural institutions. The programme will be announced in the near future.



Exhibition: Inszenierte Wirklichkeit [Staged Reality]
Dornbirn, Stadtmuseum & Stadtarchiv [City Museum and City Archives]
Exhibition opening: Saturday, 23 May 2015, 10.00 am
The exhibition runs from 23 May to 27 September 2015. Opening hours 10-12 am and 2-5 pm.
Further information may be found at www.uni.li/architektur and stadtmuseum.dornbirn.at.