"The effect of individual acts was large and magical: the floating down of the circle in front of mysterious dark, its lighting up and its cooling down - or the movement of a white square over the stage. The floating down of the arch in the catacombs was unforgettable. You could feel the drama, the effectiveness of shapes and colors. The floating, gliding and standing of the shapes, the changing of the colors depending on the type and intensity appeared as a dramatic sequence full of excitement."
(Ludwig Grote: Bühnenkompositionen von Kandinsky, 1928)

Scene 13, Catacombae
Reconstruction according to Kandinsky
© 2002 bildklang
On April 4, 1928, Wassily Kandinsky, in the role of director and set-designer, premiered a scenic version of Pictures at an Exhibition at the Friedrich-Theater in Dessau. For the first time, Kandinsky was able to put his idea of an "abstract stage synthesis" into practice. The production of the 16 musical pictures was a result of sculptural stage events created from mechanically moving geometric shapes, colors, lines and lighting effects. For the audience seated in the theater, the visit to the exhibition was a succession of abstract pictures on the stage, whereby the scenic design followed Mussorgsky's music to the letter.