2017 the Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich was celebrating its 150th anniversary. Twelve years after the founding of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1855, it was inaugurated as a classic collection for study and teaching purposes for aspiring art historians, archaeologists and architects. It was a typical university collection which during the 19th century offered the necessary study material for educational purposes as well as serving as a central instrument for the transmission of knowledge.
The 150th anniversary has been seen as an opportunity to take a fresh look at the collection and the rooms in which it is housed – not only ourselves, but also by allowing views from the outside as well. How did artists, architects, academics and students see the collection and the exhibition space? How did the works of the ETH’s Collection of Prints and Drawings provide inspiration for their work, their way of thinking and their methods?
During 2017 the collection was open to participatory approaches in curating. The Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich was also expanding temporarily into additional spaces within the city of Zurich, not least with the aim of triggering a different point of view as a result of the specific location in question.