Coming soon: Karel Martens, Questioning Karel, October 28th, 6–8 pm!

Karel Martens, Questioning Karel

Sunday, 28 October 2018, 6–8 pm
In conversation with Emily Smith, Marc Hollenstein, P. Kri, and others
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg
Free admission
In English

Qualifiers aside, Karel Martens is known quite widely for his work in graphic design, printmaking, and other timely artistic pursuits. A self-professed “human being” (in contrast with closed professional classifications), Martens’ extensive teaching over the past 40 years complements his personal creations. Having collaborated over past years with K,’s cryptic keeper, P. Kri, he comes now to Berlin to consider and question his own, constantly moving, practice. Joined by Marc Hollenstein, his former student and current designer of KW Institute for Contemporary Art’s institutional identity, as well as Emily Smith, Professor of Communication Design at University of Applied Sciences Europe in Berlin, Martens will query the crisscrosses and overlaps between contemporary art, design, and creative work.

Presented in collaboration with the Communication Design program at the University of Applied Sciences Europe.

When Karel Martens began studying art in the Netherlands in the late 1950s, “graphic design” did not exist as its own course of study. Today, he is recognized as one of the most important practitioners of the discipline, recognized for both his client-based and independent graphic, spatial, and time-based work. His accolades include the H.N. Werkman Prize (1993) for the design of the architectural journal Oase, the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art (1996), the Gold Medal at the Leipzig Book Fair (1998), and numerous other distinctions. Martens’ experimentation with printing processes and graphic form over the past half century has influenced a younger generation of visual practitioners, as has his teaching at the Yale School of Art, Jan van Eyck Academie, and co-founding of the Werkplaats Typografie in 1997. Recent exhibitions include Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam (2018); Kunstverein München and 019—Museum of Moving Practice, Gent (2017); and at P!, New York (2016).

Esen Karol, Everyday Kicks

Friday, 28 September 2018, 6–9 pm
Conversation with Esen Karol: 7:30 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg
Free admission
In English

Turning our attention to questions of publishing, civic engagement, and other exogenous explorations, K, opens the Fall season with Ankara-born designer and editor Esen Karol. Since the 1990s, she has made an indelible impact on Istanbul’s cultural scene through her books and graphic systems. In her own quest to find what’s next, Karol most recently embarked on an independent publishing project called Manifold. Now two years old, Manifold is a platform to analyze the immediate environment of Istanbul, considering questions of urbanism, design, art, and politics primarily within the contested Turkish context. By bringing Karol to Berlin to collaborate with K,’s curator, P. Kris, we seek to survey her graphic archive and reanimate records from nearly three decades of design practice—in a way that opens up unexpected encounters rather than claiming an authoritative interpretation.

Esen Karol is a graphic designer based in Istanbul, Turkey, who works on both digital and analog projects in her one-person studio. Her clients and collaborators have included notable arts institutions and brands such as Arter, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Mavi, SALT, and Milli Reasürans Art Gallery, as well as curators and artists Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Fatma Bucak, Füsun Onur, Hou Hanru, Leyla Gediz, Mona Hatoum, René Block, Sarkis, Vasıf Kortun, and Volkan Aslan. From 2003–2012, she taught typography and publication design at Istanbul Bilgi University. She is a graduate of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul and received her master’s degree in communications design from Pratt Institute, NY, where she was a Fulbright Fellow. Her current focus is on projects relating to the Turkish-language online journal, Manifold, which she co-founded with Bülent Tanju in 2016.

Salem Al-[K]assimi, Maryam Al [K]assimi, and Other Guests, Soliciting Queries Or Questions Around An Alternative Graphic Ministry

Friday, 20 July 2018, 6:30 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg
Free admission
In English

Signaling the start of our summer sabbatical, K, summons the founders of the first Fikra Graphic Design Biennial from Sharjah (UAE). This upcoming exhibition playfully proposes an expanded notion of the field and its suitable scope, alongside some speculative scenarios for the future. A multi-day workshop in Schöneberg serves to sort out the project’s specifics. Surrounded by the exhibition’s co-curators, Na Kim, Emily Smith, and K,’s Qwerty-qualified quester, P. Krishn, the Emirati ensemble will engage in soul-searching Socratic dialogue to set the stage for November’s show.

Salem Al-[K]assimi is a multidisciplinary graphic designer and entrepreneur. In 2006, he founded Fikra, an award-winning design-led educational platform in Sharjah (UAE), that comprises a coworking space, design studio, café, gallery, and library. He has participated in exhibitions in the UAE and internationally and has published numerous articles, reviews, and essays on Arabic typography, culture, and design. Al-[K]assimi has been featured in Forbes Middle East Magazine as one of “The Leading Young Entrepreneurs in the U.A.E”. He was an Assistant Professor at American University of Sharjah (AUS), College of Architecture, Art, and Design.

Maryam Al [K]assimi is a bilingual Arabic and English graphic designer based in Sharjah (UAE). Her work has been presented in exhibitions across the United Arab Emirates and abroad. She was part of the Campus Art Dubai program, as well as an artist in residence at A.i.R Dubai in 2014 organized by Art Dubai, the Delfina Foundation, Tashkeel, and Dubai Culture. She is a graduate of the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and Principal at Fikra.

The Fikra Graphic Design Biennial centers on graphic design as a practice and discourse, as well as its evolving and broadening nature within local, regional, and international contexts. As a platform for professionals and the general public, it facilitates an environment for exploring innovative and radical ideas in the field. Incorporating exhibitions, workshops, and programs, the Biennial presents the nuances of the discipline, and communicates its significance, varied media, and multiple roles for designers in contemporary culture. The inaugural edition will open in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in November 2018.

Anna Kanna Barham, bumps knot algorithms

Friday, 6 July 2018, 11 am–5 pm: Live production writing workshop
Please drop in during the day with a short text to read.

from 6:30 pm onwards: Performance and discussion
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg
Free admission

“Browsed” may sound like “braust,” but what a blunder to mix up the two! As K, cautiously contemplates breaking for the summer, it beckons Anna Kanna Barham (born in Birmingham) to bestow a bespoke automaton upon Berlin: an embodied, live production writing group. Bred on a Baroque logic and the burbling banter between spoken word, language recognition software, and printed output, Barham’s brain child bends and builds different texts that each bear the bruises of audio and visual transformations. Conspiring with P. Krishn, K,’s casual collector of consonants, Barham blueprints multiple modes of broadcasting to begin our next, bookish phase.

Anna Kanna Barham is a London-based artist exploring the materiality and errancy of language alongside broader issues of translation, authorship, and subjectivity. Recent commissions include Playground Festival, Museum M, Leuven (BE); Art Sheffield; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fig-2, ICA Studio, London; and Hayward Gallery, London. Her work has been included in exhibitions at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; The Welcome Collection, London; Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz (AT); Rotterdam Film Festival, Rotterdam (NL); Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Antwerp (BE); ICA, and Tate Modern, London; and many others. She is currently making a new book work with Foundation Press, which will be published in summer 2018.

Klasse Digitale Grafik, 502 Bad Gateway — Digitales Ausstellen

18–22 June 2018
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg

From June 18–22, 2018, the Klasse Digitale Grafik from the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg occupies K,. Working at the intersection of graphic design and digital culture, this group will transform the physical and online interfaces of K, into forums for experimenting with aspects of digital exhibition making.

During this period, a set of interdisciplinary projects serve as starting points for considering multiple questions: What tensions emerge in physical exhibition spaces between artworks in and about the internet? Which forms of digital representation, collection, and organization manifest themselves in contemporary display strategies? How can individual practitioners make digital infrastructures visible, and with which current economic and social factors must artists, exhibition makers, and institutions contend?

Every day, a different guest will be invited to discuss these and other questions. The conversations are open to the public. Simultaneously, the website will reflect and extend the workshop’s activities as a virtual display.

Guests and Dates:
18 June 18, 6pm !Mediengruppe Bitnik (Artists’ collective)
19 June 18, 6pm Tina Sauerländer (Curator)
20 June 18, 2pm Studio Miessen, Markus Miessen & Zoë Ritts (Architects and authors)
21 June 18, 6pm Lukas Eigler-Harding (Designer and developer)

Michelle ‘Kleio’ Elligott, Timely Aspects of Modern Display

Friday, 15 June 2018, 6:30 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg

Returning to its roots in display-related rubrics, K, responds now to the history and horizons of ‘The Modern,’ that renowned museum in New York. The next arrival in our roomy ‘Rote Insel’ rest area is researcher and raconteur Michelle ‘Kleio’ Elligott, whose recent writing focuses on polymathic, self-taught museum director, curator, and exhibition designer René D’Harnoncourt (1901–68). With K,’s constant, P. Krishna, she considers the museum’s evolving relationship to ideas of innovative installation, archival practice, and how the past may find itself reclaimed in the future.

Michelle ‘Kleio’ Elligott is the Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She recently organized Devenir moderne, part of the MoMA exhibition Etre moderne at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. She co-directed the Museum’s widely acclaimed Exhibition History web archive project; co-edited the institution’s first self-published history, Art in Our Time: A Chronicle of The Museum of Modern Art (2004); and co-curated the MoMA PS1 exhibition 1969. With her “Modern Artifacts” series, she is a regular contributor to Esopus Magazine. Elligott’s next book, René d’Harnoncourt and the Art of Installation, will be released in Fall 2018.

Mick ‘K.’ Wilson, Valand Academy Summer Course Intensive: Introduction to Art & Politics

Friday, 8 June 2018, 9 am–6 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg

Berlin Intensive, featuring Dave Beech, Emily Smith, Kjell Caminha, Mick ‘K.’ Wilson, and P. Krishna

[K]uratorial Meet-up Berlin, Dialogues on art, curating, and politics

Wednesday, 6 June 2018, 8–9 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Defiance In/As Radical Love: Soliciting Friction Zones and Healing Spaces
Followed by a conversation with Lauren Cornell and Niels Van Tomme

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung’s keynote kicks off a two-day workshop and exchange between students and staff from De Appel Curatorial Programme (Amsterdam), Bard Center for Curatorial Studies (New York), and Valand Academy (Göteborg) at K,. The program continues on 7 June 2018 with Paul B. Preciado at Bard College Berlin.

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung is an independent art curator and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art. He is currently guest professor in curatorial studies at the Städelschule Frankfurt. He was curator-at-large for documenta 14, and is a guest curator of the 2018 Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal. Recent curatorial projects include: We have Delivered Ourselves from the Tonal — of, with, towards, on Julius Eastman, SAVVY Contemporary, 2018; That, Around Which the Universe Revolves: On Rhythmanalysis of Memory, Times, Bodies in Space, SAVVY Contemporary, Hebbel am Ufer, Kampnagel, a.o., 2016–18; Every Time A Ear di Soun — a documenta 14 Radio Program, SAVVY Contemporary, 2017; The Conundrum of Imagination, Leopold Museum Vienna/ Wienerfestwochen, 2017; An Age of our Own Making in Holbæk, MCA Roskilde and Kunsthal Charlottenborg Copenhagen, 2016–17; Unlearning the Given: Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality, SAVVY Contemporary, 2016.

Na Kim and Emily ‘Kae’ Smith, Essential Non Sequiturs (Kith and Kin)

Saturday, 26 May 2018, 5 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg

Normative notions of graphic design and curating place the disciplines in non-neighboring nodes of creative practice. But on in its continuous quest for clarity, K, quizzically queries: what if these two nominatives are not nearly so discrete, but rather lie nearer to each other? Our next program nominates non-specialist naturals Na Kim and Emily ‘Kae’ Smith to consider this niche inquiry. In conversation with K,’s current ‘Kerning-König’, P. Krishnamu, they will workshop how visual and conceptual structures from diverse areas—whether anthropology, movement, time-based notation, or next-level government bureaucracy—may apply to even newfangled exhibitions of graphic design.

Na Kim is currently based in Seoul and Berlin, as a member of Table Union. She was responsible for the concept and design of GRAPHIC magazine from 2009 till 2011 and has initiated a series of projects based on her monograph, SET, since 2015. In addition, Kim has been a curator for the Brno Biennial (CZ), Chaumont International Poster and Graphic Design Festival, and Typojanchi International Typography Biennale Seoul. Kim’s works have been exhibited internationally at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; La Triennale di Milano (IT); Die Neue Sammlung, Munich (DE); and others.

Emily ‘Kae’ Smith is an educator, designer, and researcher focused on the intersections between graphic design, visual anthropology, and choreography. Her work applies observational, participatory, and conceptual approaches in reconsidering exhibitions and narrative practices. She has lectured and taught at institutions such as ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena (US); Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (US); Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (US); Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Munster (DE); Open Set, Rotterdam (NL); and Domaine de Boisbuchet, Lessac (FR). Smith is currently Professor and Head of Communication Design at the UE / BTK, Faculty of Art and Design in Berlin.

Christopher Kulendran Thomas & Annika Kuhlmann, 
Concerning A Two-Faced Keynote

Friday, 6 April 2018, 6:30 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg

Our third manifestation marks a mild migration towards a meeting point of Marx and the market. Since 2016, artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas and curator Annika Kuhlmann have developed New Eelam, a model for distributed citizenship masked as an internet startup (or vice versa). During a short sojourn at K,, they will compare Keynote chops with P. Krishnamurt while updating their “Pitch Deck” — a flexible document that communicates the complexity of their project in both cultural and corporate contexts. This program cracks open the in-progress deck for public critique.

Christopher Kulendran Thomas is an artist whose work manipulates the structural processes by which art produces reality. His work has been included in the 7th Bi-City Biennale in Shenzhen, CN (2017), the 11th Gwangju Biennale, KR (2016), the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2016), the 3rd Dhaka Art Summit (2016), as well as in solo and group exhibitions at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, US (2018), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, US (2018), Tensta konsthall, Stockholm (2017), New Galerie, Paris (2017), Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2016), Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2017), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2015), and Tate Liverpool, GB (2013).

Annika Kuhlmann is a curator who works predominantly through long-term collaborations. As Creative Director at the art-led technology company New Eelam, she has been collaborating with artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas on institutional presentations worldwide. She has curated exhibitions at Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg (DE), New Galerie, Paris, and BFI Miami, US. With curator Anna Frost, she established the curatorial project, and as a founder of Brace Brace, she has exhibited at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Auto Italia in London, KM Temporär in Berlin, and for DIS magazine. She is currently working with Tino Sehgal on an upcoming exhibition as part of the ‘Immersion’ program at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin.

Emily King, Learning from Liverpool

16 March 2018, 6:30–8:30 pm
Address: Ebersstraße 3, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg

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.

Jeremy ‘Kai’ Aynsley, A Kindred Juxtaposition

Opening program:
Conversation between Jeremy ‘Kai’ Aynsley and P. Krishnamurthy about post-war German graphic design and its ideological implications
Saturday, 3 February 2018, 4–5 pm

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 ‘Kai’ 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.

Klaus Wittkugel, Wiederspiegelung, Konstruktion


Saturday, 3 February 2018, 5–7 pm

We begin our “Wanderjahr” with Klaus Wittkugel: a curious and controversial artistic figure of postwar modernism who deserves a closer look. As a pre-eminent graphic designer, exhibition-maker, and teacher in former East Germany, Wittkugel (1910–1985) imprinted Socialist messages upon multiple generations of ‘workers and farmers.’ His traces remain across contemporary Berlin, such as the signage systems for Kino International and Café Moskau on Karl-Marx-Allee or the identity for the former Palast der Republik. The subtitle of his comprehensive 1979 monograph reads Photography, Graphic Design, Poster, Exhibition, Marks—suggesting Wittkugel’s extensive range of graphic media. Working in the service of the GDR’s official agencies, Wittkugel nevertheless inflected these commissions with an individual aesthetic of self-reflexive photography and typographic construction. His work allows us to open up questions about the tension between the political and the personal within design and other themes.

The presentation Klaus Wittkugel, Wiederspiegelung, Konstruction [Klaus Wittkugel, Reflection, Construction] includes original photographs from the 1930s, alongside posters, book covers, and printed ephemera from the 1950s and 60s. A contemporary slide show of Wittkugel’s exhibition design and architectural graphics complements these materials. This rotating selection seeks to make his work accessible for interested audiences and researchers. Wittkugel’s work remains in the space until early May, while other invited curators, artists, and designers add a diverse set of works to the installation in parallel.

With thanks to the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Art Collection; Steffen Tschesno, Berlin.

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.

Tobias Kilz-Weisenburger, Our Architect from Leipzig

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.
Also there is drawing showing the overall solution (plus a couple of rough suggestions …)

best regards,

KW, Institute for Contemporary Art

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


K, A Year with P. Krishnamurthy

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)


Curator: P. Krishnamurthy
Assistant curator: Judith Gärtner