Aesthetics is Order
Museum für Konkrete Kunst Explores Logo Design

Simone Schimpf is the director of the Museum für Konkrete Kunst in Ingolstadt, Germany. When asked what exactly Concrete Art is, she likes to refer to the Deutsche Bank logo. For geometric shapes and emblematic colors combine in its striking design – just like in the works of Concrete Art, a kind of abstract art founded by Theo van Doesburg in the 1920s that is based on mathematical-geometric foundations. Indeed, it was the Deutsche Bank logo that provided the impetus for the museum’s current exhibition. LOGO: The Art of Symbols investigates parallels between design and Concrete Art and shows that design and art do not have to be mutually exclusive. This is very much in keeping with the ideas of Anton Stankowski, who designed the Deutsche Bank logo together with Karl Duschek. “I can’t make art in the morning and design in the afternoon,” he once said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s art or design, what’s important is that it’s good.”    

The exhibition illustrates how Concrete Art and logo design pick up on the aesthetics of early Modernism, on that of Bauhaus, Constructivism, and de Stijl. Stankowksi’s guiding principle “aesthetics is order” applies to both areas. Designers and artists both work with basic geometric shapes and rely on clear colors and formal reduction. Their works are timeless and can be understood internationally. Stankowski’s logo for Deutsche Bank, a slash in a square, is exemplary. Other companies also commissioned artists to design their logos, ranging from Max Bill, who designed the trademark for Wohnbedarf AG, to Victor Vasarely, who created together with his son Yvaral the three-dimensional rhombus for the automobile manufacturer Renault. Time and time again, LOGO: The Art of Symbols shows Concrete Art’s presence is in daily life. For example, the design of the Aldi bag was originated by Günter Fruhtrunk, who caused a sensation with his diagonal striped pictures at documenta 4 in 1968. Fruhtrunk’s plastic bag design from 1970 is in all likelihood the world’s most widespread multiple.

LOGO: The Art of Symbols
Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt
Until 3/19/2017