25/25/25

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Last summer I won the pitch for the visual identity and according printed matter (25 posters for 25 cities and a concluding publication) of the Kunststiftung NRW’s (Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia’s) special project on the occasion of its 25-years jubilee – titled 25/25/25.

North Rhine-Westphalia, the heartland of German industrialization, has historically been a hub for collecting modern art and may by now well have the highest density of museums worldwide.  

The 25/25/25 Project is about raising public awareness and appreciation for the unrivalled density and vital cultural importance of art museums in North Rhine-Westphalia. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westfalia is bringing together 25 international artists and 25 municipal art museums in the region. Each of the artists has been asked to delve into the collection of a particular museum and develop a new artwork reflecting that collection, in other words a portrait of what that museum is about in the broadest sense of the word. Each new work is to be exhibited in 2014 in the corresponding museum as well as on local hoardings in the surrounding city with a view to drawing people’s attention to “their” museum. Each newly produced artwork will then be donated to the museum’s collection.  

Making-Of

Reading the brief for the first time I was immediately hooked on the project’s title and knew immediately that I wanted to do something with the triple 25. I intended to create a clear and concise symbol for the project and after various experiments finally ended up with the 25 consisting of three lines running in parallel.

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The next tricky part was to place and combine the other logos and the title 25 years, 25 museums, 25 artists. In a process of steady simplification …

 
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… I ended up with the solution to integrate years museums artists directly, replacing one line in the symbol. This is the final logo:

 
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The participating museums were selected by a committee of three art critics, Astrid Mania (freelance critic), Dominikus Müller (Frieze) and Antje Stahl (Monopol), on the basis of the stringency of each museum’s exhibition programme and how the museum relates to contemporary art.

The artists were nominated and invited to participate by an international committee of experts: Lorenzo Benedetti (Director Vleeshal, Middelburg), Dr. Yilmaz Dziewior (Director Kunsthaus Bregenz), Prof. Georg Imdahl (Kunstakademie Münster and art critic), Thibaut de Ruyter (exhibition designer and art critic), Prof. Katharina Sieverding (Universität der Künste Berlin), Adam Szymczyk (Director Kunsthalle Basel, Artistic Director of Documenta 14).

Looking back there were several exciting meetings at Kunststiftung headquarters in Düsseldorf but one day that sticks out was when I presented my graphic concept once more (after I had been selected) to the commitee of experts (see above) and was invited to join them afterwards for their discussion on the participating museum and artists for the project. It was really fascinating witnessing these guys talk about contemporary art, as they were so into it, armed with great expertise, many charming anecdotes and compelling standpoints to share.

The 25/25/25 project will continue throughout the year and end in a concluding publication as soon as all of the 25 artists have finished their work. So far 17 artists: Tercerunquinto (Bochum), Ulrich Urban (Recklinghausen), Vera Lutter (Düsseldorf), Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff (Leverkusen), Ingrid Luche (Wuppertal), Sam Lewitt (Düren), Wade Guyton (Bottrop), Tara Mahapatra (Kleve), Joep van Liefland (Goch), Michael Dean (Aachen), Mandla Reuter (Bonn), Katinka Bock (Lüdenscheid), Katrin Mayer (Bielefeld), Ken Okiishi (Köln), Lena Henke (Marl), Peter Friedl (Siegen), Azin Feizabadi (Dortmund) have finished their work and I created the first billboards:

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The first 17 of 25 billboards. To be continued!

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You will find more images and the whole list of participating museums and artists on the projects page in the work section — and I end this post with the 25/25/25 project manifesto:

We aim to

• Make our mark in the densest museum scene for contemporary art
• Bolster the museum collections
• Highlight solidarity between artists and art lovers
• Invite all the residents of each city to THEIR museum
• Discuss the museum of the future
• Bring art into each city on billboards
• Dare to experiment
• Ask questions about and through art
• Defend art

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