2023 marks the 205th anniversary of Marx's birth and the 140th anniversary of his death. After more than two years of planning and preparation by the Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations, the FES Shanghai and the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the exhibition “Greetings from Trier - The Biography and Works of Karl Marx” was unveiled in Shanghai on 13 March 2023.
On 5 May 1818, Karl Marx is born in Trier. His parents want a legal career for their son. But things turn out differently: until today, Marx is considered the nineteenth century critic of society and capitalism. As a philosopher, social scientist, economist and political journalist Marx observes his time and develops perspectives on a future that is our present. However, he is neither a prophet nor the heroic genius that creates his body of work on his own. When Marx dies on 14 March 1883 in his London exile, he does not leave a coherent doctrine but a multi-layered and varied mixture of different theories.
Many are already fascinated and inspired by his radical critique and incisive analyses during his lifetime, but even more so after his death. The universal liberation of mankind is its main impetus. Political actors and intellectuals as well as social and political movements make him famous and utilise his ideas in the twentieth century. During the twenty-first century, Marx’s analysis of the structures and consequences of capitalism as well as his aspiration to understand the world in order to change it remain topical.
Marx’s birth house in Trier is now a museum operated by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung . The museum’s permanent exhibition was opened in 2018 to mark the 200th birthday of Karl Marx. The exhibition now presented in Shanghai is based on the one in Trier. It offers insights into the biography and the work of Karl Marx and thus into his works and his intellectual path. For the first time, parts of the exhibition of the Museum Karl Marx House are displayed in China.
The Shanghai exhibition consists of four parts. The first part introduces the history of Marx's birthplace, the Karl Marx House.
The second part focuses on the life of Marx and therefore focuses on Marx himself and his family, and presents his life through the various cities in which he lived over time.
The third part, “The Lifework”, is dedicated to the work of Marx and his working methods. It presents the young Marx as a philosopher who then becomes a journalist, then turns to the criticism and analysis of bourgeois society and finally becomes an economist. When Marx died in London in 1883, his life's work was unfinished.
The last part of the exhibition deals with how Marx's ideas were processed after his death. In 1883 Karl Marx died in London. His work was neither completely published nor finished. Although he was already well-known, it was unforeseeable that he would become one of the most efficacious figures of the twentieth century. Friedrich Engels played a decisive role: he supported Marx as a friend, sponsor and working partner.
The Shanghai exhibition is located on the sixth floor of the newly opened Shanghai Library East and is expected to be on display until the end of October 2023.