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Flight and Metamorphosis

Nelly Sachs, Writer, Berlin/Stockholm

Nelly Sachs's apartment on Bergsundstrand 23, Stockholm FD Harry Järv, Stockholm, 1970 © FD Harry Järv/ National Library of Sweden

In 1966, Nelly Sachs received the Nobel Prize for Literature and became the first female German poet to be granted this honor. At the time, the Jewish lyricist of German descent was 75 years old and had spent nearly thirty years in exile. In 1940, she had fled, together with her mother, from Berlin to Stockholm – at the very last minute, having already been given order to be deported to a concentration camp.

For the first time, Nelly Sachs’s poetic oeuvre will be honored in a large travelling exhibition. A selection of unpublished material shown in the exhibition pays tribute to the radical nature of her writing and illustrates the cultural-historical context in which it emerged. As of yet unpublished photos and manuscripts from Sachs’s estate as well as previously-unknown audio and video recordings document her friendships with authors such as Paul Celan, Gunnar Ekelöf, Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Selma Lagerlöf. Furniture and personal belongings from the poet’s famous one-room apartment in the south of Stockholm offer a rare insight into her daily life.

A new, four-volume commented edition of Nelly Sachs’s work as well as an exhibition catalog, comprising over 350 illustrations and rare documents in German and Swedish will be presented at opening of the exhibition by Suhrkamp Verlag.

A special website, produced by gewerk design, provides further information.

Exhibition opens

24 March 2010, 7 pm


25 March 2010 - 27 June 2010


Eric F. Ross Gallery, Libeskind Building

Curated by Aris Fioretos and designed by gewerk design, the exhibition is a collaboration with the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Jewish Theatre and the National Library, both in Stockholm, as well as the Swedish Embassy and Suhrkamp Verlag. Funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie as well as the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung, the Swedish Tercentennary Fund, and the Swedish Academy in Stockholm.

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