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Exhibition “HfG Ulm: Exhibition Fever”
Poster of the exhibition, design: Florian Karrer. © 2021 Museum Ulm

As one of the 20th century’s most influential design schools, the Ulm School of Design was in many ways a trailblazer for the contemporary understanding of design as an interdisciplinary practice. The idea of democratic design manifested in what was called the “Ulm model”. Yet how was design presented at the Ulm School of Design? Were designs and products simply put on a pedestal? How were exhibitions conceived at the school in Ulm and how were they conceived for external clients? Using previously unpublished materials such as architectural models, journals and historical photographs, the exhibition “HfG Ulm: Exhibition Fever” willbe showing how the Ulm School of Design presented its positions and design concepts and broadcast them to the world. It will run from 1 May to 19 September 2021.

The show’s name is a tribute to the exhibitions of the 1950s and 1960s, which enjoyed such popularity that people in design circles spoke of an “exhibition fever”. During its 15-year existence, the Ulm School of Design also created multiple exhibitions to demonstrate its own perspective and communicate the teaching methods it had developed. In addition, members of the school community designed systems for external clients such as Braun and BASF and a contribution for the German pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. (The exhibition also includes two items on loan from the German Design Council: photographs from the historical photography archive and a flyer from Expo 67 in Montreal.)

The exhibition will be accompanied by online presentations and guided tours and represents the conclusion of the four-year research project “The Visibility of the Ulm School of Design: From Ulm to Montréal”. Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, it was run jointly by HfG-Archiv Ulm, Pforzheim University and Folkwang University of the Arts Essen. The opening will take place online on 30 April at 7 p.m. Participants will need to register beforehand by emailing v.heinrich@ulm.de.

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