Those of you who know my sculpture know that I’ve been a bit label-obsessed for the last couple of years. Well, actually make that for the last 30 years, when I started collecting sardine and olive oils cans: (close up of my kitchen wall) So how incredibly great that I got to visit two label-intensive museums in a row during my recent travels to Germany. Heidelberg houses the very quirky yet tidy Museum of Packaging, (I ask you: does this ad make you want to run out and buy a Frigidaire?) a private collection of ads and brand labeling, mostly from the past hundred years. All kinds of commercially packaged products are on display, from soda to cigarettes to dish detergent. The best aspect of the presentation is the social commentary that one can deduce by seeing the evolution of labeling styles of a particular product ( such as Nivea hand cream–and darn–I was so enthralled by the evolution of Nivea that I forgot to pull out my camera) since its inception to current times.
Much, much older labeling and packaging can be seen at the Heidelberg Apothecary (and Alchemy) Museum.
Magnificent cabinets of tinctures, brightly and ornately painted hand blown bottles, majolica-glazed ceramics vessels to hold the various ingredients for medicines, room after room devoted to the magical, mystical art of healing. You’d start to feel better just LOOKING at these pill bottles…
And, this may be off topic, but the Alchemy room! Every manner of metal and glass stills, each one a sculpture in its own right, and en masse–oh, swoon! Before closing out–I want to circle back to product labels. A wonderful visit to Seligmann Bauer’s House in the Jewish Museum in Trebic, Czech Republic had the unexpected bonus of a beautiful display of 1940’s packaging in the poignantly preserved general store of Mr. Bauer.
I would definitely buy bobbins even if i didn’t need them if they came in this box!
Is there a wee bit of irony that this post comes from someone who is known to rant against the current obsession with marketing and “branding”? Ah! But this is different!