Marx exhibition opens in Shanghai
Event marks 140th anniversary of philosopher’s passing
Published: Mar 15, 2023 12:00 AM
Photo: Courtesy of Yang Lin of Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations

Photo: Courtesy of Yang Lin of Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." 

These world-famous words by Karl Marx are engraved on his tombstone in Highgate Cemetery in the UK. As Tuesday marked the 140th anniversary of Marx's passing, an exhibition showing the life and works of the philosopher opened in Shanghai in honor of this greatest thinker in modern times.

Titled Greetings from Trier - the Biography and Works of Karl Marx, the exhibition brings the collection from the Karl Marx House museum in Germany's Trier to ­China for the first time.

Chinese visitors at the exhibition can learn about Marx's complete life track and course of thought in an immersive way, the organizers of the exhibition told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Co-hosted by the Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations (SFSSA), the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (SPAFFC) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a non-profit German foundation that manages the Karl Marx House museum, the exhibition showcases 37,000 words worth of texts, more than 180 pictures and several videos, most of which are from the museum in Germany.

It also displays replicas of items from the German museum's collection, including a resin craftwork of Marx's head sculpture flown in from Germany, according to an SFSSA staffer.

"Here people can see that the overwhelming majority of exhibits are the same as the ones at the Karl Marx House museum," said Deputy Director of the Shanghai Marxism Research Institute Xu Juezai, who helped prepare the exhibition.

Xu shared some highlights from the exhibition, which reflect significant moments in Marx's life. 

"Such as [photos of] the Swan Café (De Swaene) in Brussels, Belgium, where Marx and Friedrich Engels drafted The Communist Manifesto," Xu said. 

"And [photos of] the British Museum, where Marx spent years working on his most celebrated book Capital, also hailed as 'a Bible for working class.'"

At the exhibition, there are also photos of Highgate Cemetery, where Marx was buried. In the photo of his tombstone, Chinese visitors can find Marx's other well-known saying that they are familiar with: "Workers of all lands, unite."

Marx was a great philosopher and revolutionary fighter, Xu noted. "Marxism has profoundly influenced China," he told the Global Times.

This year marks the 205th anniversary of Marx's birth and 140th anniversary of his death. The exhibition, after more than two years of preparation, is being held to pay respect to this teacher of revolution for the proletariat and working people all over the world, said co-host SPAFFC.

Chinese people have a deep affection for Marx. 

"What particularly impressed me was the increasing number of messages in the guestbook left by Chinese visitors to Karl Marx House museum. They wrote, 'China is where it is today because of Marxism. We venerate Marx,'" Jing Ying, vice president of SPAFFC, told the Global Times, recalling a previous visit to the museum.

The exhibition in Shanghai offers more Chinese people, especially the young ones, opportunities to get close to Marx, Jing said.

"The exhibition enables visitors to systematically learn about Marx himself and his philosophy, and closely feel the light of truth that shines in his life works 

such as The Communist Manifesto and ­Capital," Jing told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The exhibition is a part of a series of Marx-themed commemorative events in Shanghai this year. 

Another exhibition under the series that demonstrates the early spread of Marxism in China is also scheduled to open to public this week, the Global Times has learned.