From magic carpets to drones

The exhibition draws us into spheres which are both magical and menacing, and shows how flying objects can inspire our imagination and at the same time spread a disturbing atmosphere of clandestine observation.

Magic and Power

Of Magic Carpets and Drones

27 February – 5 June 2016, Marta Herford (Gehry Galleries)

The exhibition examines this parallelity of magic carpet and unmanned air vehicle using contemporary artistic means: objects, drawings, photographs, videos and installations circle between fascination and horror around a historical issue of great topicality.

The magic carpet is a legendary carpet that can be used to transport humans instantaneously or quickly to any destination. In Persian mythology King Salomon had just such a magic craft. It became world famous through the stories from “One Thousand and One Nights” and still features not only in fairy tales but also in many fantasy books and films. It combines the primeval human dream of flying with the almighty view from above and the silent agility of the spy.

In a strange way, our modern-day drones continue to weave this spell. As remote-controlled flight robots they open up almost unlimited possibilities – for goods transport and the observation of hostile terrain, for new camera flights at dizzying heights or for unmanned military attacks. There is a clash here not only of picture worlds from East and West, but also of the magic of the fairy tales with the cynicism of an enlightened present, of fanciful dreams of conquering the heavens with crystal-clear photographs of the most hidden corners of the planet.

The show is a highly extended version of the presentation “Heaven and Hell” conceived last year by Diane Hennebert and Christophe Dosogne for the Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain in Brussels.
Logo Boghossian Foundation


Adel Abdessemed, Jananne Al-Ani, Nevin Aladağ, Bilal Bahir, Axel Brechensbauer, Cai Guo-Qiang, Solano Cardenas, Tim Cierpiszewski, Eleven Play, Parastou Forouhar, Alicia Framis, Gregoire Gicquel, Oliver Grajewski, Laurent Grasso, Adam Harvey, IOCOSE, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Alain Josseau, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Babak Kazemi, Krištof Kintera, Julien Leresteux, Li Wei, Urs Lüthi, Pierre Malpettes, Abu Bakarr Mansary, Farhad Moshiri, Nik Nowak, Panamarenko, Ruben Pater, Sebastian Reuzé, Patrick Rieve, Samuel Rousseau, Moussa Sarr, Björn Schülke, Jalal Sepehr, Roman Signer, Slavs and Tatars, Andreas Slominski, Rikrit Tiravanija, Addie Wagenknecht


A four-part series of publications appeared alongside the exhibition: “Guide” is an informative, brief guide through the exhibition. “Index” is a collection of all the exhibits with a picture and full details of the work. “Essay” contains two scientific contributions on the theme, and “Show” offers an extensive photographic tour through the exhibition.

Katalog "Magie und Macht" - Guide Katalog "Magie und Macht" - Index
Katalog "Magie und Macht" - Essay Katalog "Magie und Macht" - Show
Guide: 120 pages, texts, illustrations, exclusive links
Index: 24 pages, illustrated list of exhibits
Essay: 52 pages, texts by François de Coninck and Diane Hennebert
Show: 48 pages, installation photos
Format: each 13.3 x 18.7 cm, Softcover
Language: German | English
Editor: Marta Herford gGmbH
All 4 publications with package band: 12 €
Thank you

Many thanks to the Marta Herford Corporate Partners and Corporate Premium Partners for their ongoing support of our program.

Ausstellungsplakat "Magie und Macht"

Exhibition poster

Trailer-Video zur Ausstellung

Video: Exhibition trailer