Berlin Transit

The exhibition looks at art works and artefacts from the heyday of Jewish culture in Berlin from a cultural-historical perspective. Each room presents a different area of Jewish production such as literature, music or the fine arts. The eccentric ‚a‘ in the title points to the joy of experimentation of the Jewish avantgarde as well as the cultural diversity of Jewish Berliners in the period between WWI and the rise of the Nazis.

Berlin Transit – Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe in the 1920s
Jewish Museum Berlin, 23.3.-15.7.12
Curators: Inka Bertz, Miriam Goldmann, Maren Krüger, Leonore Maier, Ann-Katrin Saß, Fabian Schnedler
Visual identity, exhibition architecture and graphics, media architecture, marketing material, book design: chezweitz & roseapple
Exhibition photos: Volker Kreidler

Berlin Transit – Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe in the 1920s
Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2012, 160 pages, 157 illustrations, thread stitching, soft cover
Editors: Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation with the research project ‚Charlottengrad and Scheunenviertel‘ of the Freie Universität Berlin.
Graphic concept, layout, typesetting: chezweitz & roseapple

Watch Me Move

The big overview exhibition examines the cultural significance of the medium via 111 animation films in five spectacular media environments.

WATCH ME MOVE: The animation show
Barbican Art Gallery, London, 15.6.–11.9.11
Glenbow Art Museum, Calgary, Canada, 8.10.–24.12.11
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan, 19.1.–6.5.12
Curators: Greg Hilty, Alona Pardo
Exhibition architecture and graphics: chezweitz & roseapple
Photo credit: Lyndon Douglas

Discover the Void

Some people thought it was a mistake when they received the empty envelope. They called up the sender, the city of Halberstadt, to be told that this envelope was indeed their invitiation to the opening of “Discover the vo d”.  The callers had interpreted the void as the absence of something and they wanted to fill that empty envelope, just as one automatically fills in the missing letters of the exhibition title. The invitation had triggered the mental process which the exhibition was exploring.

People in Halberstadt, a small town in the picturesque Harz region in Eastern Germany are experienced void fillers. A woman, who was only a baby on April 8, 1945, when allied bombers destroyed 82% percent of the medieval inner city, told me that she was raised on tales of this invisible city of the past. Wandering around the ruins, relatives would recount to her every lost building, street corner, flagstone. She grew up with a very clear picture of houses and streets that didn´t exist anymore and she shared this vision with the people around her. Even today, the dials of the big clock on the tower of Martini Church are permanently stuck at 11.28 a.m., the moment desaster struck 67 years ago.

To get Halberstadt unstuck from viewing emptiness in their city solely as a traumatic loss was the focus of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Urban Redevolpment Saxony-Anhalt. An amibitous IBA team made up of members of the city council, town planners, architects, cultural scientists and a scenographer (my former business partner Detlef Weitz) set out to cultivate alternative attitudes towards empty spaces. In a long process involving many different local individuals and groups, they identified and analysed different forms of emptiness and explored mulitple uses of empty space in the town. They succeeded in not filling the empty spaces with buildings, but with new meaning.

When we were commissioned to present the results of this process in a final exhibition in the derelict municipal swimming baths, we not only wanted to show the visitor what had happened during the IBA years. Our aim was to show emptiness itself. Thus, we projected a walk-in videoinstallation unto the floor of the empty swimming pool, just like the people had projected their lost city unto the empty spaces of the destroyed city.

Giving something as abstract as empty space a form, is one way of communicating it, to invite people to experience emptiness for themselves is another. On postcards that could be collected in the exhibition, visitors were asked  to visit “empty” places in Halberstadt and go through a series of simple exercises to help them feel emptiness for themselves. Please feel free to adapt these exercises to your personal surroundings and let us know how it felt.

Scenography by chezweitz & roseapple
Photos by Volker Kreidler

Inter Versus Multi

Scenography is per se an area where a multitude of disciplines come to work together. In order to create a compelling exhibition experience for the visitor you have to consider space, movement, objects, words, orientation, surface, light, sound,  emotions, products and the translation of physical space into printed matter and digital space. Which means that you need architects, product designers, writers, programmers, light and sound specialists and of course graphic designers, those who are good at working in real space and those who understand the intricacies of book and web design. And this list is only on the design side of things.

Rereading ‘Change by Design’ by Tim Brown, an advocate of design thinking, I stumbled across an interesting definition of the nature of team work across disciplines. “In a multidisciplinary team each individual becomes an advocate for his or her own technical speciality and the project becomes a protracted negotiation among them, likely resulting in a gray compromise. In an interdisciplinary team there is collective ownership of ideas and everybody takes responsibility for them.”

From my experience a scenographic design team often starts out as an enthusiastic inter in the ideation phase, veers into an edgy multi in the execution phase only to come together again on the home stretch to celebrate an ecstatic inter success at the opening.

While we were working on an exhibition on documentary film, a collaboration between the University of Television and Film and the Pinakothek der Moderne, both in Munich,  we (the graphic designers that is) had the idea of documenting our work on the show as a kind of meta documentary. As there was no documentary filmmaker about to do this for us, we thought of different ways of portraying the scenographic process without holding a camera. In the end, we decided that the common link between the collaborators is the computer screen. The task to collect a screenshot every day of the different team players fell to Edgar, our intern at that time, and he did a fantastic job collecting and posting them daily on a temporary Tumblr.

Here is a shortened version of what we did from October 21 to December 1 in 2010. Enjoy.

© chezweitz & roseapple · Tumblr Images and photos of opening: Edgar Khandzratyan

Writing About Exhibitions

From years of trying to find the right person to write adequately about our exhibition designs, I know how difficult it is to describe the design of a room with words. In my opinion, the writer needs to accomplish three things:

  1. clearly state what is there to be seen
  2. explain in easy words how it is done
  3. and then you might suggest the overall impression or athmosphere it creates – but be careful with! I personally hate to be told what I am supposed to experience

I drove a bunch of clearly talented writers nuts, because I felt they were always starting with point number three, didn´t understand what the clearly brilliant strokes were in number two and as for number one, that seemed to be the most difficult task of all. I hate to upset people, so I started writing them myself. Not because I was a better writer, but, at least, I knew what I wanted to be told.

While writing a lenghty text about two Pasolini exhibitions of ours, I realized that indeed, words were quite a difficult and awkward tool compared to images to accomplish point one. This is why, when the next occasion arose and we were asked to contribute a text about the scenography of Jews 45/90, an exhibition in the Jewish Museum Munich for the catalogue, I set out to find a new form to “write” about our rooms.

And now I won´t attempt in words to describe this new form, but show you, simple as that:

The visual essay was first published in the catalogue accompanying an exhibition in the Jewish Museum Munich.

Jews 45/90. from here and there – survivors from eastern europe
Jewish Museum Munich, 30.11.11-17.6.12
Curators: Jutta Fleckenstein, Tamar Lewinsky
Visual identity, exhibition architecture and graphics, signage, printed matter, book design: chezweitz & roseapple
Jews 45/90. from here and there – survivors from Eastern Europe
Jewish Museum Munich
Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag, Berlin, 2011
136 pages, 25 ills. (German and English editions)
Editors: Jutta Fleckenstein, Tamar Lewinsky
Book design,  illustrations and typesetting: chezweitz & roseapple

Showing Wilhelm Meister

How to exhibit literature or more specifically Goethe’s famous coming-of-age novel ‘Wilhelm Meister’ ? That was the question put to seven renowned exhibition makers at a conference in Frankfurt in 2009. Being one of the few designers in an illustrous group of mainly literature experts,  I suggested to show the book as an object. The form of the text obviously being something different than the text itself, I was curious what a comparable study of different editions of the books would reveal not only in terms of design and cultural history, but possibly also about the interpretation and literary status of the novel at different times. Feeling slightly guilty for still not having read the book, I was nonetheless delighted to be invited to test and present this approach in the ensuing group exhibiton at the Frankfurt Goethe-House.

The Anna Amalia library in Weimar collects every new edition of Goethe’s works and posesses some of the original and very early editions and so was the ideal starting point for my research. I spent three delightful days in the very fine and welcoming library and examined 50 different editions of the novel, starting with the first edition from 1795 right up to a contemporary one of 2007. I weighed and measured, analyzed page layouts, identified lettertypes, compared title pages and endpapers. The findings were then organized in chronological order in nine exhibition books: The book of book covers, the book of typography, the book of layouts e.t.c..

Photo: Wolfgang Günzel

Curatorial concept, research and book design: Rose Epple
Installation: chezweitz & roseapple
Book photos: Isabel Prugger and  Edgar Khandzratyan

Images of the Mind

The show charts the quest to visualize the mind. Valuable works from art and science dating from antique to contemporary times are presented in a translucent mindscape.

Deutsches Hygiene Museum, Dresden, 23.7.–31.10.11
Moravian Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic, 9.12.11–18.3.12
Curators: Colleen Schmitz, Ladislav Kesner
Visual identity, exhibition architecture and graphics, media architecture, printed matter, book design: chezweitz & roseapple
Exhibition photos: Volker Kreidler

The catalogue for the exhibition in the Deutsches Hygiene Museum charts the pivotal role of the image in the search for comprehension of the mind. Basis of the books’ architecture is an abstract grid, which helps to navigate the quest for knowledge from antiquity to today. 

Wallstein Verlag, 2011, 304 pages, thread stitching (German edition)
Editors: Colleen Schmitz, Ladislav Kesner for Deutsches Hygiene Museum Dresden
Graphic Concept, layout, typesetting: chezweitz & roseapple

Subjective. Documentary Film


A joint exhibition by the Pinakothek der Moderne and the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film. The scenography enables the visitor to look at individual movies as well as experience the filmic portrait of a whole generation of directors in the “Film City” installation.

Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, 2.12.10-20.2.11
Curators: Bernhart Schwenk, Heiner Stadler
Visual identity, exhibition architecture and graphics, media architecture, printed matter, book design: chezweitz & roseapple

To learn more about the accompanying books see this post: Two Books About Documentary Films

Work. Meaning and Care

In five space-encompassing media installations the exhibition looks at the meaning of work for society and the individual.

Deutsches Hygiene Museum Dresden, 25.6.09–11.4.10
The exhibition had a second edition under the title:
Senckenberg Nature Museum Frankfurt, 1.5.-16.9.12
Curators: Praxis für Ausstellung und Theorie [Hürlimann, Lepp, Tyradellis]
Visual identity, exhibition architecture and graphics, media architecture, printed matter, book design: chezweitz & roseapple
Photos of exhibition: Deutsches Hygiene Museum, Volker Kreidler

Catalogue accompanying the exhibition at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum: The curatorial collection of material is presented as an information folder, which simulates varied papers, page formats and tabs. Text and image fragments together with accompanied essays form a compact and multi-layered documentation of the work on work.

Work. Meaning and Care
diaphanes, 2009, 420 pages, open thread stitching,
Editors: Praxis für Ausstellung und Theorie [Hürlimann, Lepp, Tyradellis]
Graphic Concept, layout, typesetting: chezweitz & roseapple
Photos of catalogue and playing cards: Henrik Strömberg, Asi Föcker

Pier Paolo Pasolini. Who Is Me

Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel

Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel

Literaturhaus Berlin, Photo: Volker Kreidler

Museum Strauhof, Zürich

The wide range of documentary material, organized by a key-word structure, and the Pasolini film installation create a complex portrait of the Italian artist and intellectual.

Museum Strauhof, Zurich, 18.3.–1.6.09
Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel, 14.6.–6.10.09
Literaturhaus Berlin, 18.10.–22.11.09
Curators: Peter Erismann, Ricarda Gerosa
Video installation: Detlef Weitz, Dominique Müller
Visual identity, exhibition architecture and graphics. printed matter, book design: chezweitz & roseapple
Pier Paolo Pasolini. Who is me / Qui je suis / Wer ich bin
Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel, 2009, 60 pages, soft cover (French, Italian and German edition)
Editors: Peter Erismann, Ricarda Gerosa
Graphic concept, layout, text setting in three languages: chezweitz & roseapple
Book photos: Henrik Stromberg, Asi Föcker

Celebrities. Andy Warhol and the Stars

Photo: Marion Lammersen / Kubix GmbH

Photo: Marion Lammersen / Kubix GmbH

Photo: Marion Lammersen / Kubix GmbH

Photo: Sandra Schuck

The show was part of the Berlin-wide program “Der Kult des Künstlers” (The Artist Cult). The Warhol Shop that was integrated into the exhibition proved controversial with the critics but popular with the public.

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum of Contemporary Art,
Berlin, 2.10.08–11.1.09
Curators: Anette Hüsch, Joachim Jäger
Curator Warhol Shop: Jörg Klambt / Muse Store
Exhibition architecture and graphics, merchandise: chezweitz & roseapple

Workshop of Modernism

The permanent exhibition in the famous building tells the story of the Bauhaus through selected exhibits and a media timeline.

Bauhaus Dessau Exhibition
Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, ground floor, 2009 – 2019
Curators: Omar Akbar, Wolfgang Thöner, Lutz Schöbe, Kirsten Baumann
Exhibition architecture and graphics, media timeline: chezweitz & roseapple
Photos: Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau

Modell Bauhaus

The exhibition shows the development and influence of the legendary school on it’s 90th anniversary. With about 1.000 exhibits, it is the biggest show on the Bauhaus so far.

Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 22.7.– 4.10.09
Direction: Omar Akbar, Annemarie Jaeggi, Philipp Oswalt, Hellmut Seemann
Curators: Ulrike Bestgen, Werner Möller, Lutz Schöbe, Michael Siebenbrodt, Wolfgang Thöner, Klaus Weber
Architecture and exhibition graphics, media architecture, printed matter, book design: chezweitz & roseapple
Photos: Volker Kreidler

Publication on the exhibition in Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin: The book re-examines and re-evalutes the art school´s history and influence.

Hatje Cantz, 2009, 376 pages, 302 illustrations, 236 in colour, hardcover with book jacket (English and German editions)
Editors: Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Klassik Stiftung Weimar
Graphic Concept, layout, typesetting: chezweitz & roseapple

Related Post: Navigating Bauhaus

Andy Warhol. Other Voices, Other Rooms

Entrance Stedelijk Museum

Hayward Gallery | Photo: Marcus Leith

Filmscape graphic panels

Hayward Gallery | Photo: Marcus Leith

Hayward Gallery | Photo: Marcus Leith

Hayward Gallery | Photo: Marcus Leith

Hayward Gallery | Photo: Marcus Leith

The huge exhibition presents around 800 of Warhol’s works in 33 different media formats and in three scenographic landscapes: Filmscape, TV-Scape and Cosmos. The exhibition design won the German Design Prize in Gold in 2011.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 12.10.07–13.1.08
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 9.2.–4.5.08
Wexner Center, Columbus / Ohio, 13.9.08–4.1.09
Hayward Gallery, London, 7.10.08–18.1.09
Curator: Eva Meyer-Hermann
Exhibition architecture and graphics, media architecture, book design: chezweitz & roseapple

The publication accompanying the exhibition at all four museums translates the curatorial spaces in the rhythm of one page per minute into book space.

Andy Warhol. A Guide to 706 Items in 2 Hours and 56 Minutes
Editor: Eva Meyer-Hermann
NAi Publishers: 1st edition 2007, 2nd edition 2008, 254 pages, 264 coloured illustrations, cut flush binding with reflective foil in book jacket (English and Swedish editions)
Graphic Concept, layout and typesetting: chezweitz & roseapple

Max Ernst. Dream and Revolution

The big retrospective subtly places the artist in a contemporary context.

Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 20.9.08–11.1.09
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, 7.2.-1.6.09
Curators: Iris Müller-Westermann, Kirsten Degel, Werner Spies
Exhibition architecture and graphics, book design: chezweitz & roseapple

Publication on the exhibition at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk: Coloured lights seems to shine from the book´s spine edge, which changes with the stations of the artist´s life and subtly accompanies the work of Max Ernst through the daringly surreal book architecture.

Hatje Cantz, 2008, 256 pages, 288 illustrations, hardcover with book jacket (English, German and Swedish editions)
Editors: Kirsten Degel, Iris Müller-Westermann, Werner Spies
Graphic concept, layout, typesetting: chezweitz & roseapple