das Auditorium des Zauberers | Foto: © Olaf M. Teßmer, Berlin
das Auditorium des Zauberers | Foto: © Olaf M. Teßmer, Berlin

Thomas Mann’s “Mario and the Magician” and the Shadows of Fascism

Special exhibition in the Buddenbrookhaus/Heinrich-und-Thomas-Mann-Zentrum (Heinrich and Thomas Mann Centre), Lübeck, and the Casa di Goethe, Rome

A single literary work – Thomas Mann’s “Mario and the Magician” – provides the inspiration for this exhibition. The exhibition design enables visitors to find their way into the imaginary world of the novella in various different ways. The room imagery and concept reflect the stern, formal quality of the narrative.

Seven cabinets are spatially and thematically positioned around a centre, which takes the form of a stage complete with auditorium. A continuous, green-and-white striped wall serves as a leitmotif connecting all of the presentations.

At times it could be interpreted as the sun and the south or a circus performance and a funfair, elsewhere it could be seen to convey an oppressive feeling of austerity and entrapment. All of the individual displays focalise aspects of the story’s historical origin; they highlight the biographical, political, philosophical and psychological background as well as artistic interpretations of the novella.

From the sum of their observations, visitors gain a good understanding of the scope of the ill-fated relationship between seducer and seduced which Thomas Mann scripted into his novella.

  • Design concept
  • Exhibition graphics
  • Implementation planning
  • Construction management
  • Cost control
  • Client: Buddenbrookhaus Lübeck
  • Display space: 200 m2
  • Held: March–June 2010, Lübeck
  • Held: 2011 in the Casa di Goethe, Rome

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Ika Gerrard
Nina Holsten
Arne Petersen
Michael Teßmer
Simone Wörner


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