Farewell to Dr. Arpad Sölter from the Goethe-Institut Australien

Off to Stockholm: RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies bids a fond farewell to Dr. Arpad-Andreas Sölter   Goethe-Institut. Australienas he takes up his new position in Sweden.

Off to Stockholm: RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies bids a fond farewell to Dr. Arpad Sölter the Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien, as he takes up his new position in Sweden.

From the glorious sunshine and mild weather of Australia to the rugged winters of Scandinavia – RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies was on hand to bid farewell to Dr. Arpad Sölter, Director of the GoetheInstitut Australien, as he left Sydney to take up a position as director of the GoetheInstitut Sweden.

Dr Sölter said that it was with sadness that he announced his departure from Sydney for his relocation to Stockholm on the 26th of July after four years dedicated to promoting cultural exchange between Germany and Australia.

Dr. Arpad-Andreas Sölter shares some fond memories of Australia.

Dr. Arpad-Andreas Sölter shares some fond memories of his time in Australia.

“During this time I had the honour of crossing your paths and working with you. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your great support, trust and encouragement.”

“I would like to express my gratitude for your interest in the GoetheInstitute and for our wonderful collaboration.”

Ms Davies said Dr Sölter had opened the 2012 RMIT Gallery exhibition New Olds and spoke at the opening of the 2014 exhibition Ulm School of Design ;(opened by Michael Pearce, German Honorary Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Melbourne) at which he announced that the new exhibition Geniale Dilletanten: subculture in Germany in the 1980s (currently showing in Munich at the Haus der Kunst) would be coming to RMIT Gallery on the first stop of its international tour.

“I have just been to Munich see Geniale Dilletanten and we are in for a real treat in Melbourne when the exhibition opens at RMIT Gallery on 13 November,” Ms Davies said.

“This is going to be another successful partnership with the Goethe Institut, which had its beginnings in the early 1970’s, when most educational institutions in Australia were hungry for information and cultural exchanges with countries other than the UK.”

Ms Davies said that RMIT Gallery and the Goethe-Institut Melbourne, which was founded in 1972, have built on the cross cultural partnership to create an impressive visual presence of Germany in the heart of Melbourne.

“We value our friendship with the Goethe-Institut and the strong links we have made with German artists and curators and wish Dr Sölter all the best for his position in Sweden.”

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies shares some reflections of the Gallery's collaboration with the Goethe Institut.

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies shares some reflections of the Gallery’s collaboration with the Goethe Institut.

Dr Sölter said that Ms Sonja Griegoschewski would take over as the Director of the GoetheInstitut Australien from the 1st of September 2015.

RMIT Gallery’s special connection with Germany

A special meeting: (left to right) Mr Volkmar Klein, Chairman of the German-Australian-New Zealand Parliamentary Group, Member of German Parliament; Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery; Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

A special meeting: (left to right) Mr Volkmar Klein, Chairman of the German-Australian-New Zealand Parliamentary Group, Member of German Parliament; Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery; Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies joined Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Parliament, and his delegation for dinner on Friday 31 October at Circa Restaurant in St Kilda.

Dr Lammert is President of the German Bundestag (Parliament) and has held this position for the past nine years. He ranks second only to the President of the Federal Republic. As President of the Bundestag Professor Lammert ensures that Parliament’s rules are upheld and represents Parliament in the public sphere.

Dr Arpad A. Sölter,  Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien, said the special get-together allowed an exchange of thoughts with the German MPs.

(left to right) Dr Arpad A. Sölter,  Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien and Ms Josephine Ridge, Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival.

(left to right) Dr Arpad A. Sölter, Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien and Ms Josephine Ridge, Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival.

RMIT and the Goethe-Institut have celebrated more than 35 years of successful collaboration. Ms Davies said that the beginnings of this partnership can even be traced to the early 1970’s, when most educational institutions in Australia were hungry for information and cultural exchanges with countries other than the UK. Since then RMIT Gallery and the Goethe-Institut Melbourne, which was founded in 1972, have created an impressive visual presence of Germany in the heart of Melbourne.

“A key aspect of the early relationship between RMIT and the Goethe-Institut was
the combination of teaching design and fine arts with street front public access for exhibitions at Storey Hall, RMIT Gallery, particularly following its refurbishment in 1996,” she said.

Ms Davies said the partnership between RMIT Gallery and the Goethe-Institut, and Ifa was finely matched and mutually rewarding.

“RMIT Gallery has introduced many leading European artists to Melbourne and facilitated workshops and skill exchange with photographers, designers, architects, town planners, musicians and gold and silversmiths over the past 30 years.” 

Recent collaborations include the successful exhibitions Ulm School of Design (2014); New Olds: Design Between Tradition and Innovation (2012-2013) and Somewhat Different: Contemporary Design and the Power of Convention (2010).

Ms Davies said that next year RMIT Gallery would be the first venue for the new German touring exhibition Geniale Dilletanten (November 2015 – February 2016), which explores the short era of the West German artistic emergence from 1979 to 1989, an age of new ways and new expressions for all artists involved.

Characteristic for this was a broad approach to genres: musicians shot Super 8 mm films; painters played in bands or established clubs, which became incubators for the exploding Geniale Dilletanten [= Ingenious amateurs] scene – not only in Berlin, but also in Dusseldorf, Munich, Bonn, Rosenheim and Erlangen. The exhibition will include the work of Die Einstürzenden Neubauten featuring musician Blixa Bargeld, who produced unheard-of brute noise on their home-made instruments. 

Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag.

On Friday 31 October Professor Lammert gave a talk at RMIT in the Kaleide Theatre about Europe, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, hosted by the EU Centre at RMIT in conjunction with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria, the Goethe-Institut, Monash University and the University of Melbourne EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges.

Ms Davies said that Professor Lammert’s talk was really riveting and acutely insightful and praised the enlightened vision of the German government in relation to its support of the arts and culture as vital components of public diplomacy and the maintenance of a civil society.

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo exhibition tour: (left to right) Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery shows around Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag and Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo exhibition tour: (left to right) Ms Suzanne Davies, Director and Chief Curator RMIT Gallery shows around Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag and Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of German Parliament and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

After the talk, Ms Davies hosted the Professor Lammert and his delegation at RMIT Gallery and gave them a tour of the current exhibitions Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning and Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo and spoke to them about the vitality and contemporary resonance of Aboriginal art and culture.

 

 

PODCAST: Dr Malte Wagenfeld’s talk on the social focus & impact of the Ulm School of Design

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Dr Malte Wagenfeld, Head of Industrial Design at RMIT (above, coming to grips with the Ulm Stool), talks about the social focus, thinking and impact of the Ulm School and German design in the 60 to early 80s as part of the exhibition “Ulm School of Design’ at RMIT Gallery 1-30 August 2014.

Listen to his podcast here:

 

Images from Dr Malte Wagenfeld’s talk at RMIT Gallery on Tuesday 12 August, 2014.

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Ulm School of Design Insight – Stackable Tableware TC 100

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The first thing that many people express when they see the Stackable Tableware TC 100 in the current RMIT Gallery exhibition ‘Ulm School of Design’ (1-30 August 2014) is surprise. That’s because such a ubiquitous design looks out of place in an art gallery. After all, they think, didn’t we just drink out of one of those white catering cups the other day at a work event?

In fact,soon after its launch in 1959, the TC 100 Stackable Tableware was deemed so extraordinary that it was snapped up by the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of its collection. It has won a number of awards, and is ubiquitous because it has been in serial production since 1961. It is important in design because it integrates production processes, transportation, and storage issues at the design stage.

The TC 100 started life as a diploma project at the Ulm School of Design, and was the brainchild of student Hans (Nick) Roericht. All pieces of the tableware with the same diameter are stackable. The individual stacks are stable thanks to a double cylinder construction which no designer had used before. A sloping side with thickened rim made it possible for the saucers and tureens to be stackable – these characteristics resulted in a unique product appearance.

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In his RMIT Gallery podcast, Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive, explains that as the Ulm model is based on technology and design, the product designer is no longer a lofty artist but is involved in the whole production process.

“That means that [the designer] does not only have to know about aesthetics, but also he has to know how a factory works. This brings me back to the library [an important resource within the school] because we also find many technical books within the library, which were available to the students. My favourite is a brochure about how crockery dries in industrial dishwashers.”

“We all know this problem of opening the dishwasher, and there’s always one item you have to give an extra wipe with your tea towel. And, of course, you have to think about this problem too when you are designing tableware, because if you try to sell this to somebody running a restaurant, and that person sees that his people have to dry the cups or whatever for an extra minute, they just lose too much time, so they won’t buy this particular design, and so, it will not be a successful design. And so that’s why designers have to be so precise about everything with the design.

“The example of the Stackable Tableware TC 100 shows that you can’t resolve problems like this just by intuition alone, because you might not think about it, because you might instead be meditating about a perfect shape. Good design however doesn’t come from intuition.”

At one of the recent guided tours at RMIT Gallery the question was asked – just how are the underside of the cups and plates designed to ensure that they come out of the industrial dishwasher without water clinging to them?

Stackable tableware TC 100

When we forwarded this query onto Dr. Mäntele, who had returned to Germany, he took it the question back to the source – in fact, to the original designer Hans (Nick) Roericht. A lunchtime discussion at Ulm ensured, and this was the reply:

Dr. Mäntele writes: “We found that the underside of the cups and the saucers (or plates) are quite different. The cups have a rather shallow underside just like the large serving bowls. However the saucers and plates look different and are comparatively deep.”

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“We concluded that this has also to do with how you have to place the item into the dish washer. Naturally the cup goes in upside down whereas the plates or saucers are placed more or less vertically, resulting in the water running down and not collecting  puddles of any kind or size. The shallowness of the cups’ underside does not collect so much water that it would not dry anyway.”

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“The stackability is the main issue about the TC 100. That’s why the exhibition displays different stacks. Again it was an absolutely new concept that pitchers and tea and coffee pots could be stacked. Older models had a more stout if not even bulgy shape which could not be stacked and also not be stored in a compact manner.

vjp-132“So in the vitrine we have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, stacks  – one cup on top of the other – but we could go even higher. Just don’t try this with any cups you have at home, you won’t be able to do it usually, because again, the handle has to be at a certain point of the cup in order to make this possible.”

It wasn’t just stackability that was the breakthrough – the ‘C’ in the nifty name ‘TC 100’ stands for  ‘compact’. The tableware can be stored in very tight spaces too, because all the elements are within a grid system.

“Hans Nick Roericht told me that it was a big diploma project because he designed more than 30 pieces, because in those days they tried to have many different pieces for different functions within this field.” 

“Design students just can’t design this by intuition, they have to know about what is happening in the factory and Hans (Nick) Roericht went to the factory, which is in the Bavarian area, close to the Czech border where the large china factories are situated in Germany.

vjp-14“Even though the cylinder as a basic idea in the tableware design,  if we look at the finished product we find that the lower part is not a cylinder any more but has a slight slope. And this is simply a necessity in order to remove the finished product from the form in the factory. And technical engineers will tell you that this particular slope has to be at least a 2 per cent degree, the slope has to be 2 per cent slope.”

So – there you have it. The next time you are at a catered event, ponder the origins of the TC 100 and its significance in modern design. However, chances are that the white cup you are sipping out of isn’t an authentic TC 100 and the coffee will spill into the saucer, and you should not try to do a 20 height stack if it is your task to clean the tables.

But if you are lucky enough to be able to use one of the original products in the TC 100 series – would you notice the difference of good design? Indeed you would. Dr. Mäntele says that he knows from experience that the milk jugs don’t drip and splatter all over the table.

Want further insights into the Ulm School of Design? Here is Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive, speaking at the RMIT Gallery exhibition:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ulm School of Design video

Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive, discusses the Ulm School of Design exhibition at RMIT Gallery, which explores the work and influence of one of the world’s most important contemporary design academies. Regarded as being second only to the Bauhaus, the Ulm School reflected the spirit of change in Germany in the post-war years, and revolutionised artistic and architectural thinking and production.

The RMIT Gallery exhibition closes Saturday 30 August at 5 pm – don’t miss the final chance to see this highly successful international touring exhibition. Melbourne is the last venue before the works return to the HfG-Archive.

PODCAST: The ‘Ulm Model’ – floor talk with Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive

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On 1 August, 2014, Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive, took a large group on a tour of the RMIT Gallery exhibition The Ulm School of Design. Dr Mäntele spoke about the ‘Ulm Model’ and the designer’s role in helping to build a democratic society in a technologically driven age of mass production.

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From 1953 until it closed in 1968 the influential Ulm School of Design in Germany was one of the world’s most important contemporary design academies. Regarded as being second only to the Bauhaus, the Ulm School reflected the spirit of change in Germany in the post-war years, and revolutionised artistic and architectural thinking and production.

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Dr. Martin Mäntele:

“The idea [for the Ulm School of Design] was to sort of re-enact the Bauhaus – to live in it again….But then the younger generation said, well, so many things have happened and the whole world has changed [after the second world war] and we really now have to approach the concept of how do we train designers.

“This is the most important aspect of the Ulm School of Design. Up to then there was no school, nowhere in the world you could go to, to become an industrial designer. There was no curriculum which said you have to do this and this and this and all to become an industrial designer and that’s what they were trying to do.”

The Ulm School of Design, RMIT Gallery, Friday 1 August to Saturday 30 August, 2014.

* Main installation photos by Mark Ashkanasy, RMIT Gallery, 2014.

 

 

 

 

ULM SCHOOL OF DESIGN PODCAST: Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive

Dr. Martin Mäntele, director of the HfG-Archive, the archive of the former Ulm School of Design, flew out from Germany to attend the opening of the Ulm School of Design exhibition at RMIT Gallery on 29 July, and conduct a tour of the exhibition for a large audience the following day.

Although there were no Australian students at the Ulm School during its 16 years of operation, interest levels have been high among Melbourne artists, designers and students.

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In this podcast, Dr Mäntele talks about the Ulm School of Design exhibition at RMIT Gallery with Dr Evelyn Tsitas, RMIT Gallery media coordinator.

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About Dr. Martin Mäntele

Dr Mäntele studied Art History and Modern German Literature at Tuebingen University, in Newcastle (GB) and Hamburg. 1994 M.A., 1999 Ph.D. in Art History at Tuebingen University. 1999-2002 Research Assistant at Kunsthalle Tuebingen. 2002-2004 Junior Curator at Ulmer Museum. Since 2004 Head of Public Relations and Education at Ulmer Museum. Various exhibition projects and publications, including “ulm model – models after ulm”, 2003. April 2013 Head of HfG-Archive, the archive of the former Ulm School of Design. 2003-2012 lecturer in Design History at Polytechnics in Ulm, Wuerzburg, and Schwaebisch Gmuend.

 

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