Luigi Colani and Art Nouveau

29 September 2020 - 29 August 2021

In 1977, Luigi Colani declared “The Bauhaus is dead”, calling instead for a “renaissance of art nouveau”. Luigi Colani (1928–2019), a native Berliner, a man of many talents and a master of self-promotion, thus triggered a revolution in German design. One of the most fascinating designer figures in the twentieth century, he is difficult to sum up in his entirety. A student of Berlin’s Hochschule der Künste and graduate of the Sorbonne in Paris, the controversial designer wrote history with his visionary ideas and biomorphic forms. Nature was his most important source of inspiration, formally speaking the maverick had an affinity for art nouveau. Colani also triggered a revolution in German design in the 1960s by making himself and his name a brand. He used the possibilities of the new material plastic to create unusual and futuristic forms. He often took the floral and organic forms of art nouveau as a point of departure, seeking to develop its foundational ideas and concepts further.

In this exhibition at Bröhan-Museum, his designs are contrasted with art nouveau objects from the museum’s own collection. The floral objects from the art nouveau period and Colani’s works stand for a dream of a better world.

For the exhibition “Luigi Colani and Art Nouveau” we created the “Colani Favorites”, a digital programme in which two young art historians introduce the highlights of the show in circa 1-minute long videos. We also show on our Youtube channel how to make jewelry under the motto “Art Nouveau meets Colani”.

Media partners: Wall GmbH, rbb Kultur, tip Berlin Magazin, Dinamix

Curator: Dr. Tobias Hoffmann
Exhibition design: Katleen Arthen
Advertising motif: Gerwin Schmidt, Munich