kek Kindermuseum | 14.06.2008 - 29.06.2008

An X and a U

An Exhibition by the Hochschule für Künste Bremen
The development of writing is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of civilization, emancipating the cultural history of humanity from the restrictions of oral tradition and individual memory. It was not until the first word was written or printed that the possibility opened up of lastingly preserving experience and knowledge, of fixing agreements or fantasies, of recording hopes and memories in books and passing them on to future generations. More than five thousand years after Sumerian cuneiform writing and Egyptian hieroglyphs, it is Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of printing with movable type that opened up the opportunity for democratizing knowledge: without writing—without the “the black art”—there would have been no Reformation, no Age of Enlightenment, no compulsory school attendance, no complete edition of Goethe, no newspaper, no news, no constitution, no written contracts, no press releases, no telephone book, no Word document, no PDF file.

Since Gutenberg, each generation has raised questions regarding the aesthetics and functionality of writing and the printed word and has provided its own answers.

The exhibition presents typographic projects by students at the Hochschule für Künste (HfK) Bremen from the last twenty-five years, many of which have received national and international awards. Today, many graduates of the HfK work for famous agencies or are themselves professors at universities both in Germany as well as abroad. The presentation enables making fascinating and interesting comparisons by placing earlier works by students alongside current projects from today’s professional designers. The exhibition assembles a total of fifty select images, corporate identities, award-winning books, posters, and films.

At the HfK, typography is situated between the two great schools of design, which also characterize its syllabus: “U” saliently stands for the legendary Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, where between 1953 and 1968, formative designs were developed for an environment structured by human beings. The famous “Snow White’s coffin,” with which Braun aesthetically revolutionized the interior decoration of German living rooms in the seventies, was influenced by the Ulm School, as was Lufthansa’s corporate identity, which is valid to this day. “X” stands for the design scene in the Netherlands, which has exercised international influence since the seventies and eighties. In place of austerity, clarity, and reduction, which defined the Ulm style, the younger Dutch school represents a cheerful, sensual, humorous variety of ways of expressing design.

The exhibition is taking place within the scope of the 23rd national meeting of the Forum Typographie, “Typography between Ulm and Amsterdam,” which is taking place at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen from June 13–15, 2008.

Selection of graduates: Eckhard Jung
Curator: Mona Schieren
Exhibition organization: Esther-Marie Nink, Sebastian Knickmann, Klaas Seekamp, Eyke Schröder, and Tim Schulze-Eickenbusch

Further information about the Hochschule für Künste Bremen is available at

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