03 Oct 2020 • Genève, Switzerland
La fabrique des contes | The fairy tale factory
Holzer Kobler Architekturen
Musée d‘ethnographie de Genève
Holzer Kobler Architekturen mit Séverine Mailler
Direction of project
Coordination on site
The Musée d'ethnographie de Genève puts a focus on the world of European fairy tales in its exhibition "The fairy tale factory": wondrous, well known and at the same time a bit frightening. The exhibition is aimed at a broad audience across all generations and social classes. In an immersive and playful manner, visitors get to know known and unknown fairy tales and learn about the reasons for passing on fairy tales.
The fact that fairy tales are so constructed as to try to explain our world serves as the starting point of the scenography. It is based on a tripartition: prologue/epilogue, kingdom of fairy tales and the back-side of the flawless world of illusions behind the scene. The most important material used for the exhibition design is wood, a sustainable material that is suitable for further use.
Travelling from the real to the imaginary world, the prologue depicts an audiovisual threshold where the walls murmur the mantra of "Once upon a time ..." in many European languages. Beyond it, a monumental wrought-iron gate opens, marking the entrance to the actual exhibition. There, the audience finds itself in an atmosphere reminiscent of the paths of a labyrinth or a backstage area. This section of the exhibition entitled "Les ficelles des contes" (The threads of fairy tales) is characterized by its functional character. The main structure for the supportive and technical installations is made into the design principle: here, the exhibition talks about the production of fairy tales, their authorship and the various forms of their translation and transfer.
The world behind the scenes - with its raw charm and narrow, winding passageways - leads to eight fairytale rooms. These are randomly placed in the room and make up the core of the exhibition. The inside is not visible from the outside. One fairy tale at a time is staged, illustrated and retold, based on numerous different objects. The immersion into these worlds is a play on and with the objects, the unusual nature of the materials, the vibrancy of the colors and the lighting. They stimulate the audience’s curiosity and their explorative sense.
And last of all, a ninth room entitled "La Fabrique" presents itself as a laboratory of history alive: a place for artistic designing, game-playing, discoveries and poetical travels - for all of those that enjoy telling fairy and other tales...