Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Grafikdesign im Jugendstil at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

by Suzanne on May 21st, 2011

Den Reinen ist Alles rein, den.... from Jugend 1896, Band 1 (Nr. 1-26), page 289 - click to enlarge

Okay, so I'll freely admit that I took the announcement of a special Jugendstil exhibition at MKG Hamburg as an excuse to obsessively plunder the online archives of Munich/Leipzig's weekly fin-de-siècle Jugend magazine that the University Library Heidelberg kindly put online for... err... 4 hours?

Die Kugelläuferin by Fidus from Jugend 1896, Band 1 (Nr. 1-26), page 297 - click to enlarge

You may have seen some of the more symbolist pieces - mainly works by Hugo Reinhold Karl Johann Höppener a.k.a. Fidus - pop up on various Tumblrs around the end of last year fueled by an article on John Coulthart's feuilleton, if I'm not mistaken.

Scene im Hades from Jugend 1896, Band 2 (Nr. 27-52), page 815 - click to enlarge

At any rate, if you have some time on your hands to check out the archives, it is indeed very interesting to witness how styles changed from 1896 to around 1905 - in the case of Jugend magazine, you'll notice a shift from the frivolous to the restrictive, from the decorative to the minimalist, from the experimental to the organised, the ornamental to the photographic. It's a very curious and somewhat melancholy thing how layout changes and ever more invasive ads rang in modernity in the microcosmos of an arts and crafts magazine.

Der Wolken[...] by Fidus from Jugend 1896, Band 1 (Nr. 1-26), page 60/61 - click to enlarge

If you pay very close attention, you may even find some rather dark pieces by Käthe Kollwitz as well as a multitude of ever more ridiculous and subliminal Odol ads (i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi - the list could frankly go on forever, but HELL, I never even liked Odol).

Am Grossen Gitter by Fidus from Jugend 1905, Band 1 (Nr. 1-26), page 309 - click to enlarge

Back to the exhibition though: It opened yesterday at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (MKG) in Hamburg and will remain on display until the end of August. Its title Grafikdesign im Jugendstil. Der Aufbruch des Bildes in den Alltag promises a very transdisciplinary approach to the osmotic Jugendstil, the "explodierenden Bilderwelt" as the MKG puts it and although I haven't received the official preview images yet, I am confident that with 350 artworks from the turn of the century, this is an exhibition of high educational and aesthetic value.

I can still remember my first visit to the MKG and their collection of Jugendstil furniture, jewellery and art is already breathtaking. Add to that hundreds of graphic works that have influenced neo-symbolist artists of today to an astounding degree, then I really wouldn't miss it.

All details below.

Das neue Strahlen from Jugend 1896, Band 1 (Nr. 1-26), page 81 - click to enlarge

On show: May 20 - Aug 28, 2011

Address: Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Steintorplatz, D-20099, Hamburg, Germany | Map

Gallery hours: Tue - Sun: 11 AM - 6 PM, Thu: 11 AM - 9 PM

Admission: €8

Press release

Jugend Magazine website

Jugend Magazine scans online