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Fairy tales, myths and symbols. Humans and their stories

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Stories that narrate about fantasy worlds and courageous heroes begin with “Once upon a time...”. These are stories which have accompanied us for thousands of years and whose origins lie in the human imagination. The MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach presents the exhibition "Fairytales, myths and symbols. Humans and their stories” on the search for traces of symbols and stories. It shows what many stories have in common, how important it is to be able to read them, and asks its visitors: what do symbolic images and stories arouse in us? Why do they fascinate us? And what do we learn about ourselves from them?

AMIDST ANCIENT IMAGES AND SYMBOLS

In every community, stories that are mean to pass on teachings or share experiences have always been told. Figures such as heroes, mythological creatures or narrative motifs such as the fight against evil dragons have a symbolic character and play an important role. “As early as the days of the mammoth hunters, stories were told around the campfire to share experiences and give valuable survival tips to the new generation. Therefore, pictographs, drawings and figures were used to tell 'comprehensible' stories”, explains Franz Pieler, Scientific Director of the MAMUZ. The image of the powerful bull is not only used for advertising and art in modern times. Cave paintings and archaeological finds show that it has been important even for our ancestors. The picture of the apple as a symbol also looks back on a long history. We find it in the Bible as well as in fairytales and legends. The exhibition “Fairytales, myths and symbols. Humans and their stories” deals with the questions of how these and many other images and symbols have been influencing our lives and decisions from time immemorial.

WHAT DO HERACLES AND STAR WARS HAVE IN COMMON?

The myths that laud Heracles and his heroic deeds are fascinating even today. Heracles had to master a total of twelve superhuman tasks to advance to the Olympics. Luke Skywalker was also sent on a journey by George Lucas in the Star Wars saga. He had to fight it out against his father Darth Vader to restore balance in the galaxy. Although these two stories are separated by thousands of years, a similar dramaturgy can be discerned: the motif of the hero's journey is an ancient scheme that the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean region knew how to narrate. But what do these stories arouse in us? The exhibition invites us to reflect on the question of how these stories are a role model for us, so that we can grow with difficult tasks.

HOW TO RIGHTLY INTERPRET IMAGES

In times of Internet and social media we are confronted with a flood of images every day. “To find our way through the daily flood of information and images in the media, politics and advertising, reading text information alone is no longer enough. To this end, we need the necessary knowledge on how to "interpret" images and how to classify them. Acquiring the skill to rightly interpret images is more important than ever", Franz Pieler, Scientific Director of the MAMUZ and Wolfgang Wettengel, Curator of the exhibition, agree on the challenges of our time.

FAIRYTALES AND FAIRYTALE-LIKE STORIES AS A GUIDING TOOL IN LIFE

In fairytales, people take their fate into their own hands. Curator Wolfgang Wettengel on fairytales and stories as a guiding tool in our lives: “many fairytale-like stories narrate conflict-laden processes of maturity and development. The heroes and heroines and their actions symbolically point to solutions. These stories serve as life-time companions for people”.

WORKSHOP – HERO’S JOURNEY

In addition to classical exhibitions, the MAMUZ Museum Mistelbach offers a special workshop on the topic of "Hero's Journey". The workshop invites you to immerse yourself in the exciting world of heroes from fairytales, myths and legends and to relate these stories with personal images in your mind. This journey will let you find new companions who can help you with your future adventures - be it at work or everyday life.

EXHIBITION PARTNERS

The exhibition was set up in cooperation with MAMUZ and the Liechtenstein National Museum.

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