Studio von Monkiewitsch’s identity for Museum Ludwig: Original and Fake is striking and surprising
The unknown, the counterfeit and the evidential; Studio von Monkiewitsch have cemented themselves deep within stark modernist design and provocative concept across their identity and collateral for Museum Ludwig’s exhibition ‘Russian Avant-Garde at the Museum Ludwig: Original and Fake.’
Through the lens of the Russian Avant-Garde movement, the exhibition seeks to showcase the ways in which fraudulent artworks are identified as such, as well as displaying the original pieces alongside their phoney counterparts. Looking to convey as much in their identity, the Cologne-based design studio struck a delicate balance in crafting a brand that gives equal weight to the artistic and the scientific. “As a solution, we decided against one prominent visual,” Timo Wissemborski of Studio von Monkiewitsch explains, “especially considering this sensitive topic we wanted to make sure that no artist would be foregrounded.” This solution leads the identity in its manifestation, with a striking aesthetic evoking an evidence table as a prominent visual feature, collating many authentic, evidential documents and objects from within the exhibition. “We opted for different materials and media to represent the diversity and often very technical nature of the examination methods used,” Wissemborski adds, resulting in an eclectic but uncomplicated collection that leaves the audience both abreast and inquisitive.
Grounding this display of refined, time-honoured editorial-esque design is Neue Haas Grotesk, a supportive typeface that is similarly satisfying and subtle. “Since the exhibition deals with a very sensitive and complex topic, it was important to us that the typeface was not too lurid and kept a low profile,” Wissemborski explains, whilst simultaneously thriving in the incredible comprehensive character set that accompanies the typeface. “For each artwork, a cluster of placards unfolds the research case from different perspectives to the visitors,” Wissemborski adds, whereby Neue Haas Grotesk quickly proved itself as an incredibly versatile asset.
Emblazoned across much of the work is an unavoidable red cross, a graphic device helping to convey some further creative surprise as well as conceptual allusion to the use of the ‘X’ across the exhibition. “An X often acts as a placeholder for images which are missing or have been removed,” Wissemborski tells us, “and of course, the letter X usually stands for the unknown variable in an equation.” Within this context, the X is deconstructed, further referencing its Russian Avant-Garde context.