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A cooperation of the Staatstheater Kassel with the documenta archiv: The Art Lecture on June 1 is dedicated to the German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon (1917 Berlin - 1943 Auschwitz), whose dramatic work "Leben? oder Theater? Ein Singespiel" was shown at documenta (13) in the Fridericianum through selected gouaches.

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#2 Hans Hillmann: Bergman, Keaton, Clair, Antonioni, Fellini, Pasolini und Godard

September 2016
© documenta archiv / Hans Hillmann

Hans Hillmann: Pamphlets of art films from the 50’s and 60’s, Inventory Number: documenta archiv, AA, NL Hillmann, Hans, Buchverzeichnis ID 3547

… needless to say, countless others could be added to this impressive list of meanwhile iconic filmmakers, whose works today are famous. Notably, interest in the work of such filmmakers was often sparked by posters, such as those commissioned by film distributors like „Neue Filmkunst Walter Kirchner. Kirchner had previously run a student film club at the University of Göttingen, from 1953 he promoted especially art films and soon became a key figure within the genre as did the Duisburger Atlas-Verleih.

Commissions of poster design as a subject area was started at the Arts and Crafts School of Kassel (Werkkunstschule) under Professor Hans Leistikow. Often Hans Hillmann would win the commission having developed several ideas for a project. Later Isolde Baumgart, Wolfgang Schmidt, Karl Oskar Blase, Jan Lenice or Gunter Rambow followed in his footsteps and together laid the groundwork for what eventually would become famous as the Kasseler Schule (School of Kassel) significantly influencing the regional cultural scene. Just recently, an exhibition presenting some of their work, was opened at the Neue Galerie under the title „Plakat Kunst Kassel“ on view from November 2016 to March 2017.

A lesser known fact is that each film was accompanied by a pamphlet, showcasing the various poster drafts and texts to the film. The reception of these were not always positive as Hillmann mentions in an interview: http://revolver-film.blogspot.de/2014/05/hans-hillmann-1925-2014.html.

However these pamphlets provide an insight into the creative process during the design and demonstrate the art historical importance of such ephemeral material. In Hillmann’s case, they show how he liked to use small, postcard size formats to develop multiple perspectives and layers, which he would finally deliver to his production manager Werner Schwierr.

In 1964, twelve of Hillmann’s works were shown in the context of documenta 3, as part of the Design and Graphic section. His estate was originally part of his atelier in Frankfurt and became part of the documenta archiv in 2014. Hillmann remained connected to Kassel, after having rendering outstanding services to its School of Arts as a professor for over twenty years. His bequest includes 98 posters, as well as a large number of pencil sketches and designs on themes, which he developed over long periods of time and on various themes. 86 pamphlets and 18 press folders from the Göttinger Filmverleih and 38 pamphlets from the Duisburger Atlasverleih complete this impressive collection.

Isabel Beck-Mast