Exhibition One Hundred Years of Adjustable Light

Midgard © Midgard

Mo-Fr, 1:00-6:30pm

Goethe-Institut New York

30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

Shortly after the end of the first world war, electricity and electrical lighting became more widely accessible, with stationary electric lamps used widely in factories and workshops. In 1919, Thüringen engineer Curt Fischer patented the first adjustable lamp, the "adjustable universal wall arm." Both the lamp's arm and head were moveable, allowing for precision lighting that eliminated the shadows and glare that were common with existing lamps. Fischer's lamps, sold under the name Midgard, became popular not only with factories but with artists and architects, eventually finding their way into businesses of all kinds as well as residences.

This unique exhibition uses designs and historical documents to tell the story of adjustable lighting's development. Original lamps, arranged chronologically, visualize and narrate the history of adjustable lighting. Patents, letters, and drawings recount the evolution of adjustable lamps from Midgard alongside contemporary and current developments from manufacturers including Körting & Mathiesen (Kandem), Gibr. Kaiser (Kaiser idell), Erco, and Nimbus. 

The exhibition was conceived for the Museum of Applied Art in Köln and curated by Thomas Edelmann. The New York version will be presented with the help of Midgard, Gebrüder T, and AMEICO. 

About Midgard: Carl Fischer founded Midgard in 1919 to produce his new invention, the "Scherenleuchte" or the scissor-arm lamp. Midgard continued developing new models of adjustable lamps, including the first glare-free reflector in 1922, which quickly became the favorites of artists and architects including those at the Bauhaus. Under the DDR, Midgard was nationalized and renamed VEB Industrieleuchtenbau Auma. After reunification, the company was reprivatized and continued producing lamps under the name Midgard Licht. The brand was acquired by David Einsiedler and Joke Rasch in 2015 and has been reproducing Fischer's original designs in Hamburg since 2017.