The Hamburger Kinderzimmer

The internationally acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson has created something extremely special for the ground floor of the Gallery of Contemporary Art. He has conceived a place that delights the eyes, a space for adventure and play, where children and adults can experience art at close proximity. The space is furnished with a smart and convivial modular Zometools game that encourages everyone to design, assemble, construct and display their own sculptures. Works of art by Old and New Masters and a variety of play stations intended to stimulate all the senses encourage players to constantly invent new forms and structures. And if you think the object you’ve been building is finally finished and you've found – nearly – all the hidden play stations and artworks inside the nursery then you’ll be given a free trailmap that will take you on a path through the collection to discover other exciting games and adventures.

We thank the Stiftung Hamburger Kunstsammlungen (SHK)  for the acquisition of the Structural Evolution Project and the scope for the beginning of Olafur Eliasson. The family exhibitions and hiking map (Wanderkarte) is generously supported by the Hans Brökel Stiftung fĂŒr Wissenschaft und Kultur. We also thank Malschule der Hamburger Kunsthalle e. V. for the support.

Current exhibition


currently closed
[24 June 2018 to summer 2020]

Under the heading »mit-ein-ander« (with-one-another) the interactive family-space for playing, seeing and experiencing special artworks awaits children from the age of six and their families. While the central work by Olafur Eliasson encourages everyone to join in and assemble, construct and play with his »Structural Evolution Project«, newly presented paintings inspire to reflect on the meaning of solidarity, both in the personal and societal sense, as for example the three-metre-high painting »Fatifa« (2005) by Daniel Richter.

In addition, exiting maps offering games and information to chosen artworks, available free of charge for families, invite our visitors to discover further highlights of the collection on a joint tour. Here you may playfully experience how artists have established friendships and spent joyful times with-one-another throughout four centuries.

The Hamburger Kinderzimmer in the Gallery of Contemporary Art is opening a new exhibition for families on 24 June at 3 pm! Free entry to the opening from 2 pm on.

Past exhibitions

Play your dreams

30 April 2016 till  3rd June 2018

A room where you may discover play – nothing less than this is offered by the new exhibition and trailmap in the Hamburger Kinderzimmer. For not just children but also artists have always enjoyed playing and besides this they would paint, model or sketch children immersed in play. Whether this was 300 years ago in the living room with the parents with nothing but a candle and the shadows of their movements, or 100 years ago in the children's room with a doll, a toy train and building blocks, or today wearing strange costumes, or just recently at the table with Mr. Knife and Mrs. Fork. Whether inside or outside, in motion or calmness, together or against one another: Playing always opens up a world of its own, in which toys are awakened to life, new things are created, roles are adopted and self-invented rules are tested. The creative processes involved in play are quite similar to those of the arts. Bearing this in mind, the artist Olafur Eliasson has designed for us »a playing space for the beginning of critical thinking«, intended to inspire adults and children to get together and play. »Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.« (Friedrich Schiller, 1759-1805, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, 1795).

The exhibition compiles paintings, sculptures, prints and videos of 300 years of history of art and play within the »Hamburger Kinderzimmer«, a children's space furnished with a smart modular Zometools game. At the listening and playing stations, you can actually experience past worlds of play by exploring a variety of games and testing some of the toys. And finally, playing trailmaps invite you to set out on a discovery tour through the collection to further artworks ranging from Lucas Cranach, to Philipp Otto Runge, to Gerhard Richter.