The Feuerle Collection juxtaposes international contemporary artists with Imperial Chinese furniture and ancient Southeast Asian art. It first opened its doors with a sold out preview week at the end of April 2016 that attracted international critical acclaim, and in summer 2016 hosted the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art as one of the main venues, which attracted over 100,000 visitors. The official opening of the museum followed in October 2016.
Located in a former Second World War telecommunications bunker that has been renovated by the British architect John Pawson, the museum encourages a conversation between different periods and cultures, offering an alternative perception of ancient art and creates a new perspective on the pieces, adopting a synesthetic approach and a highly sophisticated light design.
On display are stone, bronze and wood Khmer sculptures from the 7th–13th century, Imperial Chinese lacquer and stone furniture; wood and stone Chinese Scholar furniture from the Han Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, from 200 BC to the 18th century. They are juxtaposed with works by contemporary artists, including Cristina Iglesias, Anish Kapoor, Zeng Fanzhi, James Lee Byars, Nobuyoshi Araki and Adam Fuss.
These pieces have all been chosen and collected by the museum’s founder Désiré Feuerle, a connoisseur of Asian art who was a pioneer in juxtaposing antiquities with contemporary art through a series of ground-breaking exhibitions in the 1990s.
The total museum space of 7.350m2 includes two main exhibition rooms on the ground floor and lower ground floor, as well as a space which can be divided from the main area, enabling The Feuerle Collection to house temporary exhibitions. On the lower ground there is also a Sound Room, a Lake Room and an Incense Room, which was open in Fall 2017.
The Incense Room
The incense ceremony shows the high level of sophistication that Chinese culture arrived to. Being one of China’s oldest traditions, dating back over 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty, it is a spiritual discipline where, by absorbing the energy from the good scents, one observes one’s body and mind. The Incense Room at The Feuerle Collection, which was opened in Fall 2017, is the first one in a museum worldwide and its aim is to emphasize the significance of this ancient and refined Chinese ceremony. For this purpose, John Pawson designed a special ceremonial table together with one of the most renowned Chinese masters of traditional wood furniture.