Shading gives objects profile, bodies volume and pictorial spaces depth. As a motif, the shadow has been at the centre of myths and stories since antiquity. Shadow images can reduce figures and objects to the "essentials" or also emphasise more sharply what is hardly noticeable at first glance. However, shadows are also capable of doing the opposite: As open, changeable forms, they persist in meaningful ambiguity, for example, and have thus always stimulated the imagination of artists and viewers.
Whether inescapable or inaccessible, deceptively real or revealingly honest, abysmal or original: drawing on the rich holdings of the Kupferstichkabinett, the exhibition Shadows follows shadow depictions on paper from the Renaissance to the present. It thus enters the field of tension between depiction and staging, which has been current throughout the ages.
The exhibition is supplemented by loans from the Basel University Library.