For the 100th birthday of Mira Lobe (1913–1995) and Susi Weigel (1914–1990), the Wien Museum is devoting an exhibition to the successful duo for children’s literature. Mira Lobe is internationally renowned as one of the leading authors of children’s books in the 20th century; her books have been translated into 30 languages. Together with Susi Wiegel and other illustrators including Angelika Kaufmann, Winfried Opgenoorth and Christina Oppermann-Dimow she published around 100 titles in around 50 years, among them classics such as the “Little I-Am-Me,” “The Grandma in the Apple Tree,” and “The Geggis.” For several generations of Austrians, Lobe books have a permanent place in their personal history.
With poetic imagination, verbal wit and striking images, Mira Lobe and Susi Weigel set new trends in literature for children and young people. Without wagging a didactic finger, their stories convey values such as tolerance, solidarity with the outcast, a sense of justice and the will to change. The exhibition is designed to please both children and grown-ups and “translates” the theme’s creative potential with playful elements and surprising scenarios. Read to yourself or others, listen to a story or “plunge” into it, trace associative memories: well-known and unpublished works by Mira Lobe and Susi Weigel can be (re-)discovered here. A fascinating addition is the material from the authors’ left papers, among them many illustrations and the original figures of “I-Am-Me” and “Bimbulli” handcrafted by Susi Weigel. Over and above this, the exhibition gives us an intimate view into Lobe’s and Weigel’s work method, into the reciprocal and intensive exchange characterized by great mutual respect, yet also by the constant struggle for quality. A not unimportant feature of the exhibition is its focus against the background of the authors’ biographies in the contemporary historical context, from the 1950s to the late 20th century.