Centre for Design History

Event | IOTA II Research Seminar – Jeremy Aynsley, 23 March 2023


4 – 6pm, Thursday 23 March
Grand Parade, M2, City Campus


Professor Jeremy Aynsley, University of Brighton

On Writing about Modernism and Design in Germany

While preparing a book on the subject, I welcome this opportunity to present some reflections on the changing perspectives and priorities in writing about modern design in Germany. This field of research has formed one of my principal interests, addressed through exhibitions and publications over the years. Guiding this latest project is the main premise that Modernism in design in the German case can be interpreted as a sequence of ruptures, false starts and discontinuities. This is partly clear from the complicated social and political history that confronted designers and design throughout the twentieth century. I draw on examples of the interaction between graphic, interior and exhibition design, arranged as a set of five case studies across the century. An enduring question is how can such a project be responsive to the current questioning and critique of the design historical canon in which design in Germany holds such a significant place?

A Professor of Design History at the University of Brighton, Jeremy Aynsley researches in late-nineteenth and twentieth-century design in Europe and the United States, with a particular focus on design in modern Germany. Publications include Graphic Design in Germany, 1890-1945 (2000) and Designing Modern Germany (2008). He has also contributed to several exhibitions. In 2017, he was guest curator of Julius Klinger: posters for a modern age at the Wolfsonian, Florida International University that travelled to The Poster House, New York in 2020. Aynsley has co-authored and co-edited many academic anthologies and peer-reviewed issues of journals.

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