Hans Blumenberg. Thinking in Metaphors


A joint project staged by the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Westfälischer Kunstverein and LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur to commemorate the centenary of the philosopher Hans Blumenberg's birth.


Westfälischer Kunstverein (project space)
LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur (Collection, 2nd floor, room 2.13)
University of Münster (Philosophikum, lobby, library)


Opening Hours, Admission  Westfälischer Kunstverein: Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm, admission free 
LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm, 9/4,50 € 
Philosophikum: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, admission free 


Blumenberg Centenary  


To escape the feeling of being overwhelmed by reality, human beings devise images and myths, metaphysical and cultural systems.

Images, myths, metaphors – they serve as a yardstick and orientation for people faced with the challenges of the present. This insight became something of a leitmotif for the philosopher Hans Blumenberg (1920-1996), who taught as professor of philosophy at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster from 1970 until his retirement in 1985 and would have celebrated his 100th birthday on 13 July 2020. 

Blumenberg's most important writings can be found in his five volumes on metaphorology. Through his radical expansion of the history of ideas, which allowed him to make references to poetry, imagination and fiction, his writings enjoyed a wide readership, especially in the fields of the visual arts, art history and literary studies. Published in 1979, his book Schiffbruch mit Zuschauer * met with a lively and – as it were – productive reception, especially among visual artists. The prodigious and simultaneously versatile scope for inspiration that Blumenberg's writings offered is reflected, for example, in works by Harald Klingelhöller, Ludger Gerdes and Marcel Odenbach that connect with Blumenberg's theory. Against the backdrop of current political configurations and developments in human history, these works not only cite Blumenberg's ideas, but more importantly also bring them up to date.

The exhibition in Münster ranges from public space sculpture, artworks and archive materials held in the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, a video installation in the project space situated between the Museum and the Westfälischer Kunstverein, to a presentation of various published materials at the Philosophikum, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität.


* Hans Blumenberg, Shipwreck with Spectator: Paradigm of a Metaphor for Existence, trans. Steven Rendall (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996).


Team of curators: Jana Bernhardt, Ursula Frohne, Jenni Henke, Ulrike Hofer, Kristina Scepanski and Marianne Wagner



With support by Sparkasse Münsterland Ost and Cultural Fund of the University of Münster

> slideshow