Skip to main content

Exploring materials

Creative project Factory

Key data

Techniques: Digital, Drawing
I can do alone: Yes
Required time: < 45 minutes
City: Workroom


With this creative project we invite you to go on a journey of discovery. Consider the materials in the exhibitions, as well as those that surround you. Think about the contexts in which certain materials are produced or used and the effects they may hold. Explore structures and surfaces outside the museum, their movement, their fragility or hardness, their effect on our bodies and the stories they tell.

Instructions for making it yourself

You will need

  • notebook
  • pencils, crayons or other pens
  • cell phone
  • a watchful eye

Look closely

Look around the museum: What materials do contemporary artists use in their work?


A bit of history: In the first room of the “Future Bodies from a Recent Past” exhibition and here on our website you can explore a special timeline. It presents individual events since the 1950s that have been particularly formative for our perception of bodies and technology. Have fun exploring!

Step 1

Write a dictionary of the materials you find. Describe them by their surfaces and effects. You can also attribute them a “human characteristic.”

Ponder this

How have materials changed over time?


If you were to ask your parents or grandparents what materials they grew up with or what new things (e.g., in the home) have been added since then, you would be surprised. After all, in the last seventy years, materials and technologies have changed faster than ever before!


Can you think of any examples?

Look closely

Look around the museum: What materials disgust you and why do you think that is?


What words come to mind to describe Robert Gober’s work “Untitled”(1990)?

Does your impression change once you know that the work is made of plaster, wood, steel, and wire?

Look closely

How does the sculpture “KAFTAN_SCHNAKEN TABLE #2” (2015) by the artist collective KAYA (Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers) affect you and your body

  • What things do you discover in the sculpture?
  • What feelings do the parts peppered with coins and play money trigger in you?
  • How do you feel about the connection of PVC foil and artificial leather straps with body prints?

Delve deeper

A very special cosmos of materials has emerged over the years in Mark Leckey’s work “UniAddDumThs” (2014-ongoing). The British artist has worked a lot with copies and 3D printing.


Have you ever seen such a printer? What do the objects created with it look like?

Artwork Factory

Artwork Mark Leckey, UniAddDumThs, 2014-ongoing

Mark Leckey's large installation offers an unusual look at the history of technology. Here, objects from different times and contexts intersect. What's the first thing that strikes you?

Kreativ sein

Creative project Factory

Creative project Collecting surfaces

Create impressions of surfaces using various techniques.

Art responds to developments in its environment. Just as we do. Whether social and political changes or new production processes and materials that emerge in industry and science: They are taken up by artists or inscribe themselves into works through the materials used. Plaster, bronze, steel, wax, plastics, leather, LEDs, monitors, candies… the list is endless. They change not only the appearance of sculpture, or what is possible to implement, but also the handling and practice of artists and, later, museums.