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26.02.2012 - ‘Paper Pearls’ - an exhibition with a twist
Regular stamp collectors perhaps may think that when an exhibition is staged, one has to expect a kind of ‘frame forests’: long rows of exhibition frames, one after the other, offering visitors a

Regular stamp collectors perhaps may think that when an exhibition is staged, one has to expect a kind of ‘frame forests’: long rows of exhibition frames, one after the other, offering visitors a path that – so it seems – will never end. And while the few visitors that dare to enter such a ‘forest of frames’ run the risk of getting lost, many other collectors contend themselves at visiting the booths of the stamp dealers, happy to be able to be actively busy with the extension of their collections.

But there are other ways to exhibit. Two young students have demonstrated that on 10, 11 and 12 February of this year in ‘Gallery 1900’, in the German town of Düsseldorf. Their project, that was meant to complete their Design & Architecture studies, was titled Perlen aus Papier (´Paper Pearls´). Theirs was not an exhibition that had as it goals a fierce competition or going for gold medals. On the contrary: they had selected postage stamps with themes that may sound rather banal in the ears of weathered philatelists, but that gained extra depth thanks to the visual approach of the students.

Eye-catchers were for instance a number of oversized magnifying glasses hanging on the wall, accessories could be used to have a better look at the exposed ‘art in small format’. The famous German ‘inflation’ had been visualised on a staircase lined with (also inflated) balloons, there was the possibility to get in touch – literally – with the infamous Hitler stamps and it was also possible to put your fingers on a ‘rice stamp’ filled with natural rice.

A grim image was formed in semi-derelict small upstairs room, where artefacts of Field Post were on show, including farewell messages from soldiers active at the military front. Many visitors were fascinated by this dramatic display of recent human history. But there were love greetings as well and also a small, specialised exhibition of the work of a famous avant-garde artist from Düsseldorf, someone apparently mesmerized by the combination of sex, eroticism and stamps.