Robert Delaunay: "Air, fer, eau" (1937), Ausstellungsansicht aus "Brisante Träume", Foto: Hans Schröder

Volatile Dreams
Art of the World’s Fair

13.10.2018 –

Parallel at two venues – in the Kunstmuseum Ahlen and in the Marta Herford – this exhibition is devoted to the fascinating history of the expo. In dialogue with contemporary artists, the “best expo in the world” places themes at the centre which are just as controversial as they were over a hundred years ago.


The first world fair opened in 1851 in the legendary Crystal Palace in London’s Hyde Park. Since then it has developed to become a historic spectacle centring on national achievements, visions and ideologies. The arts also always played an important role in these massive events which still take place today in ever more extravagant form.

Artists and their works appear equally as ambassadors and propagandists, as free-spirited actors and instrumentalized representatives of their nations. With powerful imagery and in a dense atmosphere, this double exhibition will resurrect five sample expos simultaneously with the Kunstmuseum Ahlen. Contemporary artists place the absorbing themes in contemporary contexts and pose questions as to the function of art in society.

In cooperation with Thomas Schriefers, Cologne.


Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Tim Berresheim, Robert Breer, Le Corbusier, Salvador Dalí, Robert Delaunay, E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology), Angela Fette, Nikolaus Gansterer, Konsortium (Lars Breuer, Sebastian Freytag, Guido Münch), Hugo Kükelhaus, Heinz Mack, Katja Novitskova, Otto Piene, Yvonne Roeb, Rob Voerman u.a.

Thank you

Exhibition benefactor

Material sponsors

Marta partners
Many thanks to the Marta Herford Corporate Partners and Corporate Premium Partners as well as the Marta Fund for New Art for their ongoing support of our program.