Pictograms, Signs of Life, Emojis: The Society of Signs

7 May to 12 September 2021

Museum für Neue Kunst

It is difficult to imagine our everyday lives without emojis. They have spread worldwide via messenger and social media and expanded our possibilities of expression by thousands of pictorial symbols. In the process, they are changing our language and the way we communicate digitally. As a symbolic language beyond words, they bridge boundaries and fundamentally alter modes of communication. Do they expand our possibilities of expression or do they further restrict them through rigid categories and graphic typifications? Where do they come from? The exhibition tells the story of the modern pictogram from its beginnings in the 1920s until to the present day and shows how social change and design coexist and influence one another.

The artists and designers presented in the exhibition pursue very different goals with their various systems of signs: Visual languages serve to convey knowledge and enable participation; they are instrumental in the better organisation of public life, or serve to express emotions more immediately. On occasion they are meant to be universally comprehensible, whereas sometimes they question the unambiguous nature of signs per se. The versatile use in ever-new modes of communication underlines the essential mutability of pictograms, which goes hand in hand with both the social and individual needs of their particular era.

This exhibition has been staged in collaboration with the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum Düren.

With:
Otl Aicher, Moritz Appich / Jonas Grünwald / Bruno Jacoby, Gerd Arntz, Johannes Bergerhausen / Ilka Helmig, Karsten de Riese, Antje Ehmann / Harun Farocki, Juli Gudehus, Pati Hill, Timothée Ingen-Housz, Shigetaka Kurita, Warja Lavater, Marie Neurath, Otto Neurath, Yukio Ota, Hinrich Sachs, Wolfgang Schmidt, Lilian Stolk, Edgar Walthert

Curated by:
Anja Dorn, Isabel Herda, Michaela Stoffels, Maxim Weirich

Museum für Neue Kunst – Städtische Museen Freiburg, Vorlage: Wolfgang Schmidt, mobil – blatt 53.77, 1977, INTeF Darmstadt
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss
Website gesellschaftderzeichen.de
Ausstellungsansicht, Foto: Bernhard Strauss.

Explore the exhibition online

In addition to the exhibition, you are welcome to visit the project website, which was created in collaboration with Maxim Weirich and Edgar Walthert, where you will find further information on the exhibition concept, works and background, as well as impressions of the exhibition from the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum Düren and the Museum für Neue Kunst.

www.gesellschaftderzeichen.de

Musterblatt aus der Piktogramm-Enzyklopädie, 1925–34, Österreichisches Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum Wien, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Musterblatt aus der Piktogramm-Enzyklopädie, 1925–34, Österreichisches Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum Wien, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Pati Hill, Proposal for a Universal Language of Symbols: Pronouns, 1977-79, Pati Hill Collection, Arcadia University, Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Pati Hill, Proposal for a Universal Language of Symbols: Pronouns, 1977-79, Pati Hill Collection, Arcadia University, Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Gerd Arntz, Straße, 1924, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, NL, Foto Peter Hinschläger, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021
Gerd Arntz, Straße, 1924, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, NL, Foto Peter Hinschläger, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021
Wolfgang Schmidt, all the things you are, 1973, INTeF Darmstadt, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Wolfgang Schmidt, all the things you are, 1973, INTeF Darmstadt, Foto: Peter Hinschläger
Gerd Arntz & Team, Planten, Blatt aus der Piktogramm-Enzyklopädie, 1928-56, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, NL, Foto: Peter Hinschläger, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021
Gerd Arntz & Team, Planten, Blatt aus der Piktogramm-Enzyklopädie, 1928-56, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, NL, Foto: Peter Hinschläger, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021
Timothée Ingen-Housz, Elephant's Memory: A Pictorial Language, 1993/2020, © Timothée Ingen-Housz
Timothée Ingen-Housz, Elephant's Memory: A Pictorial Language, 1993/2020, © Timothée Ingen-Housz

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m

Admission fees

with special exhibition
7 euros / concession 5 euros

Tickets

Get your ticket directly at the museum or book online in advance.

Contact

Museum für Neue Kunst
Marienstraße 10a
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Tel.: +49 761 201-2583
mnk@stadt.freiburg.de
Contact persons

Für den Zugang und den Fahrstuhl wird eine Assistenz benötigt, nicht aber für das WC