Experimental work in space is crucial not only in the visual and performing arts, but also for the design of exhibitions and performances. The combination of exhibition design and scenography in a degree program at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design is an expression of an advanced concept of design in which the borders between the different arts and media, as well as between the fine and applied arts are fluid. The critical contemplation and the performative approach to the perception and representation of our environment make it possible to develop exhibition design and scenography as forms of a critical practice.
Exhibition Design is the composition of spaces for conveyance of content. The process portrays artistic and curatorial statements, relating to art exhibitions as well as documentary, historical or scientific theme exhibitions. During the avant-garde movements in the early 20th century spatial creation became an independent, artistic element, possibly even the carrier of the act or the narration of a production. Our department is based on this idea of the term scenography. Scenographers today operate in theater, film and exhibitions, in public and in virtual spaces. They develop narrative spaces in the form of installations, temporary architectures, choreographies and performances. Curatorial studies and dramaturgical practice covers the theory and history of exhibitions, theater and performance. Curating and dramaturgy are understood as creative, team-oriented activities. Involving the respective medial and institutional conditions, they aim to nurture the production of both visual and performing arts and cultural artifacts.
The degree program of exhibition design and scenography conveys to the student the analytical, conceptual, aesthetic, technical, and organizational skills that are necessary for the design of narrative spaces. It is divided into an undergraduate program, which is completed with an intermediate diploma certificate, and a graduate program terminating with a comprehensive diploma project. The standard period of study is 9 semesters. To graduate with a diploma degree and not be bound to the regulations of the ECTS matches the self-conception of the university as a field of academic freedom. The educational content is not modularized, and interdisciplinary collaborations beyond the confines of the department are part of the program. All qualifications from the university are compatible with the international Bologna Process. In 2008, the Science Council certified the university with an “excellent educational concept title” in its evaluation report.
Scenography was established when the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design was founded by Heinrich Klotz in 1992 as one of five departments of the school. The first professor of scenography was Johannes Schütz, followed by Michael Simon. Exhibition design as a course of studies was added in 1998 and completed the concept of Heinrich Klotz in which scenography and exhibition design are closely connected. The Department of Exhibition Design was initially headed by Christian Moeller, and renamed by his successor Louis-Philippe Demers to medial exhibition design. In 2006, the scenography department was taken over by Beatrix von Pilgrim and Penelope Wehrli, while Wilfried Kühn took over the exhibition design department and subsequently expanded it to include curatorial studies. In 2012, Heike Schuppelius continued the scenography program, and in 2014 Andreas Müller, the exhibition design. Since 2013, curatorial studies and dramaturgical practice function as a unified subject area for the two programs and has been under the auspices of Anja Dorn until 2018. Currently, Clémentine Deliss is leading the programme in curatorial practice. The department’s website from 2006 to 2012 can be found here.
The school has well-equipped workshops, which are open to all students. The department maintains an excellently equipped studio. In addition, students have access to workshops and studios of other departments, such as a photo studio, a workshop for serigraphy, a studio for digital and letterpress printing, workshops for wood, metal and electrical purposes, as well as studios for sound, film, and editing. A library that is shared with the Karlsruhe Center for Art and Media enables students to have access to current literature.
Currently, our department maintains Erasmus programs with the following universities: Wimbledon College of Arts (London), Estonian Academy of Arts (Tallinn), Athens School of Fine Arts, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (Basel), École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes.
In the previous semesters we were cooperating with Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe, Theater Rampe Stuttgart, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ruhrtriennale 2018/19, Pina Bausch Foundation Wuppertal.
Professor of Scenography
Constanze Fischbeck works as filmmaker, stage designer, curator and lecturer in the context of theatre and art. Her artwork is based on the space and present of specific locations and their societal contexts. Her cinematic works combine the analysis of spaces with performative, documentary and discursive approaches.
Her work was presented at various festivals, art institutes and theatres.
She studied set design between 1992-97 at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee.
Constanze Fischbeck’s artistic work processes are often collaboratively and in dialogue with directors, choreographers and artists.
From 2009-2015 she developed the international research – film and art project state – theater # 1-6 (with Daniel Kötter) in the cities of Lagos, Tehran, Berlin, Detroit, Beirut and Mönchengladbach, which is an extensive exploration about the conditions of performativity. It has been presented internationally (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Cologne, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Mousonturm Frankfurt, Architecture Biennale Venice, SALT Istanbul, Art Museum Nanjing, National Gallery Singapore, Segal Center Festival New York) and won prizes at architectural and experimental film festivals.
Since 2007 she teaches as a lecturer, for instance at the HBK Braunschweig, the HfG Karlsruhe, the RUB Bochum, the HMT Leipzig, the University Hildesheim, the UdK Berlin and from October 2019 as Professor for Scenography at the HfG Karlsruhe. In 2015, she initiated a residency program for artists and curators from Lagos and Berlin in cooperation with the Goethe Institut Lagos and three Berlin art institutions.
Interim-Professor of Curatorial Theory and Practice
Viktor Neumann is an art historian and curator. He has curated exhibitions and projects for institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Bildmuseet Umeå, Kunstmuseum Bonn, National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Yekaterinburg, and Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. He was Curatorial Assistant for documenta 14 Public Programs and Assistant Curator for the 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. Recently, he was member of the curatorial core group of the Bergen Assembly 2019 and co-curator of the Parliament of Bodies. Currently, he holds the *Kurator-stipend of the Gebert Foundation for Culture and is co-curating exhibitions and projects for the Württembergischen Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Kölnischer Kunstverein and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf. He lives and works between Berlin and Zurich.
Substitute Professor of Exhibition Design
Thomas Rustemeyer studied architecture and urban planning at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and University of Arts in Berlin. He worked in the field of architecture, urban development and exhibition design for Raumlaborberlin and Jangled Nerves. In 2012/13, he was a research associate in the Department of Architecture at the BU Wuppertal for Prof. Klaus Overmeyer. In his work, Thomas Rustemeyer concentrates on urban spaces and narratives. He addresses questions on communal life in cities, the cities of the future and public spaces. Some of his narrations are documentary; others are designed newly for specific places that test alternative ideas of urbanism.
Hanne König is an art researcher working in the curatorial field, on exhibitions, publications and as an academic. Her endeavors focus on feminism as a social impact as well as collective, collaborative and transdisciplinary working processes. Since 2017 she is an artistic associate in the Scenography and Exhibition Design department at Karlsruhe University for Arts and Design. In 2020 she received a scholarship from the DFG-Research Training Group 2477 – Aesthetic Practice, where she is currently researching the relation and dependencies between Curating and Aesthetic Practices like fiction, poetry, dance, choreography and performance.
Philipp Schell (*1991 in Filderstadt) studied Media Art at HfG Karlsruhe and Architecture at AbK Stuttgart. His Field of Interest lies in questions of the relationship between fictional and built environments, hence the role of suggestion, technology and authorship in design-processes. Works were presented at the Sinop Biennial 2019 and at WKV Stuttgart, among others. Furthermore he founded in 2016 the studio Triggerbangbang together with his three brothers and a good friend. They develop spatial installations and tailor-made applications for Exhibitions, Performances and companies, using different media and technologies.
Ebba Fransén Waldhö
Ebba Fransén Waldhör is an artist and designer working in spatial installation and design research, with a primary focus on textiles. Since 2014, she has developed temporary spatial concepts and stage designs for artists, writers, and institutions, such as: Transmediale, Hebbel am Ufer Theater, KW Berlin and Sophiensaele. Between 2016-2019 she was a part of a performance collective with artist/writer Hannah Black and musician Bonaventure, in which she created installations at MoMA PS1, New York; the ICA, London and Centre d’Art Contemporain, Genève; among others. She works as a design researcher at the weißensee school of art and design, researching adaptive materials in textiles and how they can be applied to an architectural context.
Hans D. Christ
Former lecturers and guests
since 2012: Ariella Azoulay, Pierre Bal-Blanc, Judith Barry, Andreas Beckert, Rodrik Biersteker, Marie Buess, Clémentine Deliss, Anja Dorn, Helmut Draxler, André Eiermann, Jochen Eisenbrand, William Firebrace, Constanze Fischbeck, Andrea Fraser, Henning Fülle, Gob Squad, Erik Göngrich, Matthias Görlich, Tobias Greiner, Martina Grohmann, Barbara Hess, Herbordt/Mohren, Anne Imhof, Stefan Kaegi, Anja Kirschner, Paula Kohlmann, Chris Kondek & Christiane Kühl, Prem Krishnamurthy, Els Kuijpers, Jan Liesegang, Kirsten Maar, Andrej Mirčev, Yvette Mutumba, Andreas Müller, Thomas Bo Nilsson, Marion von Osten, Jan Pappelbaum, Manuel Raeder, Juliane Rebentisch, Achim Reichert, Claus Richter, Rimini Protokoll, Hinrich Sachs, Yorgos Sapountzis, Ines Schaber, Benjamin Schälike, Marc von Schlegell, Philipp Schulte, Jan van Toorn, Caro von Voss, Jan Wenzel, Benjamin Wihstutz.
The Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design is a public corporation. It is legally represented by its acting rector Prof. Dr. Johan Hartle. The authority responsible is the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg, P.O. Box 10 34 53, 70029 Stuttgart. Person responsible according to §55 RStV: Andreas Müller.
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Concept and Design: Anna Cairns, Igor Kuzmic
Programming: Anna Cairns
Supervisors: Urs Lehni, Andreas Müller