Four Museum Studies students at the University of Leicester have produced an interactive CD-ROM on the life and works of Johannes Koelz, the German artist famous for refusing to paint Adolf Hitler.
As a result of this refusal he had to flee Germany in the 1930s and his story has been the subject of New Walk Museum and Art Galleryís most successful ever exhibition, A Life Divided. The CD-Rom forms an interactive display as part of this exhibition.
Eva Fotiadi, Claire Valarino, Jessica Adler, and Helen Poole, received help from the University's Audio Visual Services in creating and producing the CD-ROM. Text and images illustrate Koelz's dramatic story, with the addition of a ten minute voice-over, written by the group and spoken by Audio Visual Services' Video Production Manager, Jon Shears.
A Life Divided displays Koelz's greatest creation, a six-metre wide triptych torn in pieces for safe keeping during 1937. Koelz entrusted the sections to his chosen friends, prior to his daring escape from Germany that same year. However, only a few fragments are known to have survived and a worldwide search is still on for the remainder. The pieces that have been discovered have been fitted into a life-size black and white photograph of the rest of the triptych, forming the exhibition's awe-inspiring centre-piece.
The CD-ROM is part of the Department of Museum Studies' New Technologies Project, co-ordinated by lecturer Ross Parry. This year the project has involved 18 different groups building digital resources (including web sites) for ten different museums across the region.
Speaking on behalf of Leicester City Museumís Service, Simon Lake, Deputy Curator, Fine Art, said: "The CD-Rom is an excellent product and I am so pleased that the Museum Studies Department was willing to take it on and produce it. It has added an extra strand to the exhibits, showing material not otherwise represented in the exhibition."
Ross Parry said: "Today new media is offering museums and galleries exciting ways to enrich visitors' experiences. And certainly, the Koelz CD produced by the students, shows how, at its best, the virtual can complement the real".
A Life Divided will run until 7 October 2001. A documentary entitled The Johannes Koelz Story - the man who refused to paint Hitler received its first two showings earlier this month at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, and is expected to be shown later in the year on television.
Note to editors: Further information on the Koelz CD-Rom is available from Ross Parry, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, telephone 0116 252 3964, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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