Jetzt laufend: Klaus Wittkugel, Wiederspiegelung, Konstruktion, geöffnet freitags, 11–17 Uhr


A Year with P. Krishnamurthy

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KW Institute for Contemporary Art is pleased to inaugurate K,—a “workshop for exhibition-making” founded by designer, curator, writer, and educator P. Krishnamurthy. Established as part of the residency format A Year with …, K, proposes a space for production, presentation, and potential pedagogy. This initiative extends and rethinks his previous project, P!, an exhibition space, gallery, and “Mom-and-Pop- Kunsthalle” located in New York from 2012–17. As Krishnamurthy has suggested in other contexts, the new venue

proffers a particular proposition: that curating, design, and other artistic pursuits in our present times must eschew the promotion of perfect products, instead presenting the creative process itself, with its plurality of positive outcomes and periodic faux pas [1]

that perhaps

can make even everyday things bumpier [2]

—or some kind of cacophonous, cryptic, confusing kaka like that.


As an exhibition-maker and graphic designer, Krishnamurthy has played with a broad set of ideas, including identity and its constructions, typographic micro-narration, self-referential modes of display, idiosyncratically-ordered curatorial systems, and institutional models alongside issues such as design’s relationship to historical and contemporary power structures. K, represents both taking stock and building anew: the workshop space functions as a site for reflection upon existing models of interdisciplinary creative practice. During 2018, the space hosts a single, continuous residency and exhibition. As part of this program, K, invites outside participants—artists, curators, designers, and others whose names (or pseudonyms) begin with the letter “K”—to transform this ongoing presentation in dialogue with Krishnamurthy. K, will also collaborate with art schools and educational programs to test emerging ideas in situ. Through these activities, the program renders visible the process of thinking and creating within a bounded space and period.

The program’s yearlong trajectory opens in February with an exploration of the work of East German graphic designer and exhibition-maker Klaus Wittkugel (1910–85). Wittkugel, a leading design figure of his day, communicated Socialist ideals and aspirations through his posters, book covers, and propaganda exhibitions in the service of the former GDR. His approach employed modernist abstraction and self-reflexive photomontage, while adapting its formal palette to a given commission. Wittkugel was also an influential professor of graphic design, teaching for over forty years at the art academy in Berlin-Weissensee. The presentation at K, features printed materials, photographs, and spatial designs, installed in an associative manner. Emerging out of Krishnamurthy’s extensive research on Wittkugel, as well as a 2016 exhibition at P!, this display opens his body of work—with its embedded questions around the role of political ideology within design—to contemporary critical perspectives and future research. A significant, controversial, and multidisciplinary figure whose work is still under-recognized, Wittkugel represents one starting point from which to explore interwoven questions around abstraction, typography, political language, and historical narrative in parallel.

Kainotophobia: fear of change, resistance to something due to fear.

From this cold-weather kickoff with the classic communism of Klaus Wittkugel, K, careens forward on a seemingly-chaotic yet calmly-calibrated course. Over the calendar year, the space compounds collaborators, commingling their individual conceptions of exhibition-making. Rather than crystallizing completely from the start, this cast catalyzes a cycle of crescendoing experimentation with contrasting formats and approaches. Comprising both calculated and casual additions, subtractions, and multiplications—of artworks, objects, ideas, and displays—the presentation accumulates. And so K, collects itself, one komma-delimited character at a time.


[1] Prem Krishnamurthy with Stella Bottai, exhibition text and publication for P!CKER at Stanley Picker Gallery (Kingston University London, September 2017)
[2] Prem Krishnamurthy, P!DF (O-R-G: New York, 2017)



Institute for Contemporary Art

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KW Institute for Contemporary Art aims to approach the central questions of our times through the production, display, and dissemination of contemporary art. Since its inception, 25 years ago, KW has established itself, not only as an institution, but also as a dynamic and lively space for progressive practices within the Berlin art scene, as well as in an international context. By means of exhibitions and various event formats, KW has aligned itself towards the current tendencies of the national and international art and cultural discourse, and has actively developed them on a collaborative level with artists, institutions, and by means of commissioned works. As an institution for contemporary art without a collection of its own, the team at KW maintains a high degree of flexibility in creating its programs and addressing its audience.


Credits for
K, A Year with P. Krishnamurthy

Director: Krist Gruijthuijsen
Curator: P. Krishnamurthy
Project Assistant: Judith Gärtner
Assistant Curator and Project Management: Cathrin Mayer
Project Website: Christoph Knoth, Konrad Renner
Head of Production: Claire Spilker
Technical Management: Wilken Schade


Tobias Kilz-Weisenburger

Our Architect from Leipzig

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Email, 16.12.2017

Hi Prem and Sina,

i hope you are doing fine.
I attached a couple of drawings showing different solutions for the presentation wall.
lso there is drawing showing the overall solution (plus a couple of rough suggestions …)

best regards,


Knoth & Renner

A website is never ready

A website is never ready. It is subject to constant change, it is a resonant body of the technical status quo and a living projection of the authors. Endless scrolling, depending on the individual daily form.
Unlike other areas of visual culture where manifestation of form is sought and visual decisions are clear, there is only temporary authorship online – until the next update.
The desire for obvious decisions meets systemic factors and comes back as an unmanageable potpourri of possibilities. Analogous to the physical model of the double pendulum, the development of a website is a chaotic process – a steady balancing of seemingly unlimited possibilities.


Collaborating since 2011 and located between Berlin and Leipzig, Knoth & Renner focus on projects for art, architecture and science institutions. Based on a deep appreciation for digital culture and technology, the studio’s interdisciplinary portfolio includes websites, publications, exhibition graphics, visual identities and apps.

Christoph Knoth — is professor for Digitale Grafik at the HFBK Hamburg in the department of Graphic Art / Photography / Typography since 2017. In 2012 he was a design researcher at the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht with his project Computed Type. In the winter semester of 2015/16 Christoph Knoth was guest professor for information design at the Burg Halle. In the following year he was, together with Konrad Renner, a guest researcher at the Bauhaus University in Weimar as a substitute for the professor in typography where they started the project Digital Typography. For the period 2015–2017 he was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Konrad Renner — is professor for Digitale Grafik at the HFBK Hamburg in the department of Graphic Art / Photography / Typography since 2017. He also taught as artistic associate for three years in the MA programme for Editorial Design at the University of Art and Design Burg Giebichenstein in Halle from 2012–2015 and was a visiting lecturer at the Berlin University of Arts (UdK). In 2016 he was, together with Christoph Knoth, a guest researcher as a substitute for the professor in typography at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar where they started the project Digital Typography.


Klaus Wittkugel

Wiederspiegelung, Konstruktion

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Wir beginnen unser „Wanderjahr” mit Klaus Wittkugel – einem kuriosen und kontroversen Künstler der Nachkriegsmoderne, der eine nähere Betrachtung verdient. Als einer der wichtigsten Grafiker, Ausstellungsmacher und Lehrer in der ehemaligen DDR hat Wittkugel (1910-85) mehrere Generationen von „Arbeitern und Bauern“ mit sozialistischen Botschaften geprägt. Seine Spuren sind noch heute in Berlin sichtbar, wie zum Beispiel an den Schildersystemen am Kino International und Café Moskau in der Karl-Marx-Allee oder im Erscheinungsbild des ehemaligen Palastes der Republik. Der Untertitel seiner 1979 erschienenen, umfassenden Monografie Fotografie, Gebrauchsgrafik, Plakat, Ausstellung, Zeichen weist auf die Bandbreite seines grafischen Schaffens hin. In zahlreichen Arbeiten für offizielle Auftraggeber der DDR hat Wittkugel seine individuelle Ästhetik selbstreflexiver Fotografie und typografischer Konstruktion eingebettet. Sein Werk lädt dazu ein, Fragen zur Spannung von Persönlichem und Politik im Designbereich zu stellen und andere Themen aufzuwerfen.

Die Präsentation Klaus Wittkugel, Wiederspiegelung, Konstruktion enthält sowohl Originalfotografien der 1930er Jahre als auch Plakate, Buchumschläge und gedruckte Arbeiten der 1950er bis 70er Jahre. Zudem wird eine zeitgenössische Diaschau, die Wittkugels Ausstellungsgestaltung und architekturbezogene Grafikansätze vorstellt, präsentiert. Die wechselnde Auswahl soll sein Werk für alle Interessierten aus Öffentlichkeit und Forschung zugänglich machen. Wittkugels arbeiten verbleiben die bis Anfang Mai in den Räumlichkeiten von K, zeitgleich werden weitere KuratorInnen, KünstlerInnen und Kreative auf Einladung vielfältige Arbeiten ergänzen.

Mit Dank an die Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Kunstsammlung; Steffen Tschesno, Berlin.


Jeremy ‘Kai’ Aynsley

A Kindred Juxtaposition

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Our first program is a conversation between noted design historian and professor Jeremy ‘Kai’ Aynsley and the curator of K, — P. Krishnamurthy — around the ideological tensions and resonances between East and West German design of the postwar period. Together with the presentation of Klaus Wittkugel, this discussion looks backward to look forward, setting the stage for the year to come.

Jeremy Aynsley is Professor of Design History at the University of Brighton where he leads the Centre for Design History. He is also currently the Chair of the Design History Society and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Design History (OUP). Jeremy Aynsley’s research, writing and curating has focused on modernism and design in the 20th century. Publications include Graphic Design in Germany, 1890–1945 (2000) and Designing Modern Germany (2008). He curated the exhibition Julius Klinger: Posters for a Modern Age at the Wolfsonian FIU, Miami Beach that runs until April 2018. His most recent research focuses on graphic design in East and West Germany in the 1950s and 60s.


Emily King

Learning from Liverpool

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We lope along a logical “Laufbahn” in our second public program, a conversation between London-based writer and curator Emily King and P. Krishnamurth. In 2017, King, Krishnamurth, and Joasia Krysia launched Design & Empire [working title] with the Liverpool Biennial and Liverpool John Moores University. This exploratory three-day event began by locating historical and contemporary links between design and structures of power. Looking for longer-lasting lessons from Liverpool, King & Krishnamurth will collect contributions from the conference at K, to consider the project’s potential legacy and elongated life.

Emily King is a London-based curator, writer, and design historian. She has organized several major exhibitions, including a retrospective of Alan Fletcher for the London Design Museum and a touring exhibition of Richard Hollis at Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Artists Space, New York. She has edited monographs on designers including M/M (Paris) and Robert Brownjohn. In addition to contributing to a range of magazines, such as Apartamento and Fantastic Man, she has edited The Gentlewoman and frieze.