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. 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: Wimbleon 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.
Applying for studies at the Department of Exhibition Design and Scenography is a two-step procedure. The first step is for the applicant to submit a portfolio of 10 to 20 self-made pieces. The portfolio may not exceed an A1 format, each individual piece must be marked with the applicant’s name and date of origin. The second step is that selected candidates are invited to a one-day entrance exam. The exam consists of two exercises and a short personal conversation with the professors. The time frame of scheduling lies between June 1st and July 31st. Detailed information and application forms can be found on the university website. Applications are accepted from March 1st through to April 16th. Students from abroad who wish to do an exchange program at the university can find more information here.
Professor of Scenography
Heike Schuppelius studied architecture and set design at the University of Arts in Berlin, and at the Architectural Association as well as at Central Saint Martins School both in London. Several work grants and awards repeatedly led her abroad to Marseilles, New York, and Cairo, as well as other major cities. In 2003, she was honored with the Bessie Award in Visual Design for her collaboration with the New York theater group Elevator Repair Service. In 2004, she was granted the Rome Prize from Villa Massimo, the most prestigious award for artists based in Germany. In collaboration with Sasha Waltz (since 1999), she has created stage sets and video works, for “Körper”, “S” (Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz) and “Medea” (Berlin State Opera). Schuppelius’ current stage sets and installations were presented at the Warsaw Autumn, Athens Festival, Garage Istanbul, in Dresden Hellerau, and at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. In 2012/13, she was artist in residence at the Berliner Festspiele and designed the festival center for the renowned “Berliner Theatertreffen”. She is currently working at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin in collaboration with the Israeli director Yael Ronen.
Professor of Curatorial Theory and Dramaturgical Practice
Anja Dorn (former Nathan-Dorn) studied art history, theater, film and television, and economics in Cologne and in Florence, and successfully completed the curatorial training program De Appel in Amsterdam in 1997/98. In 2012, she curated the “Festival der jungen Talente!” in Frankfurt as a visiting professor at the Hessian Theatre Academy. From 2007-2011, she was director of the Kölnischer Kunstverein together with Kathrin Jentjens. During this time, Anja Dorn held solo exhibitions with Melanie Gilligan, Michael Krebber, Mark Leckey, Seth Price, Bela Kolárová, Nora Schultz, Omer Fast, and Boris Sieverts, i. a., and group exhibitions such as “Konzepte der Liebe”, “Lecture Performance”, or “Forbidden love: Art in the Wake of Television Camp”, which had partly been developed together with artists (Simon Denny and Judith Hopf). From 2000-2005, she actively worked as an art critic for magazines, such as Metropolis M, Frieze and Texte zur Kunst at the Galerie Christian Nagel, alongside her function as an independent curator.
Professor of Exhibition Design
Andreas Müller studied architecture at the University of Arts in Berlin and was a founding member and editor of the magazine “An Architektur. Produktion und Gebrauch gebauter Umwelt”. He had a scholarship at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and was a research associate in the Department of Urban Design at the Hafencity University in Hamburg. He is part of an exhibition design studio called “Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik”, based in Berlin. In his work, he investigates the communicative and transformative potential of designed spaces. He develops and holds exhibitions as discursive social grounds in which meaning is generated, renegotiated, shifted, and occasionally undermined. With the “Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik”, he, among other things, staged exhibitions such as “The Whole Earth” and “Ape Culture” in Berlin’s House of World Cultures, the refurbishment of the design collection at the Hamburg Museum of Industrial Arts (MKG Hamburg) and three editions of the “Berlin Documentary Forum”.
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.
Aaron Werbick studied architecture and design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart and was a founding member of the studio Kirchentrojaner / Prinzmetal which developed a series of church projects, urban interventions, community, and participatory projects for organizations, such as Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and the Bundesstiftung Baukultur. He was a research associate at the University of Marburg for Prof. Dr. Thomas Erne and at the Institute of Architecture and Design at the University of Stuttgart for Prof. Wolfgang Grillitsch. In his work, he addresses the rediscovery of space and its potential in transition from a positional to a situational spatiality. In collaboration with artists and architects, he staged exhibitions at the House of World Cultures in Berlin and the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt as well as worked on productions at the Stuttgart State Opera.
Tobias Becker (Free-Hand Drawing)
Matthias Görlich (Faculty Publications)
Michael Nijs (Dramaturgy)
Benjamin Schälike (Lighting Design)
Caro von Voss (Costume Design)
Anja Kirschner (Film Scenography)
Yorgos Sapountzis (Scenography and Installations)
Visiting Lecturers and Guests
since 2012: Ariella Azoulay, Pierre Bal-Blanc, Judith Barry, André Eiermann, Jochen Eisenbrand, William Firebrace, Andrea Fraser, Henning Fülle, Gob Squad, Tobias Greiner, Herbordt/Mohren, Anne Imhof, Stefan Kaegi, Chris Kondek & Christiane Kühl, Jan Liesegang, Kirsten Maar, Yvette Mutumba, Thomas Bo Nilsson, Marion von Osten, Jan Pappelbaum, Manuel Raeder, Juliane Rebentisch, Achim Reichert, Claus Richter, Rimini Protokoll, Hinrich Sachs, Ines Schaber, Jan Wenzel, Benjamin Wihstutz.
The Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design is a public corporation. It is legally represented by its rector Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski. 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: Anja Dorn, Andreas Müller, Heike Schuppelius.
Apart from prudent control, we assume no liability for the content of external links. The site-operators are solely responsible for the content of linked pages.
Concept and Design: Anna Cairns, Igor Kuzmic
Programming: Anna Cairns
Supervisors: Urs Lehni, Andreas Müller