The Living Archive on the ground floor of the Kunstverein presents hitherto unknown drawings and designs by the Hamburg illustrator and graphic artist Ali Maria Robohm (1908-1993). In the 1950s and 1960s, she was instrumental in shaping the graphic appearance of the Kunstverein Hamburg, producing not only numerous posters and invitation cards but also drawing for the design of exhibition spaces. She also worked as graphic artist for the Hamburg Port Authority and as book illustrator.
Her many-facetted work is particularly striking in her use of typography. The works on public display for the first time include hand-drawn exhibition posters on Ernst-Wilhelm Nay or Jackson Pollock, as well as sketches and typographic samples. Robohm’s treatment of typography shapes form and space and thus relates closely to architecture. For instance, perspective architectural and spatial drawings interrelate with her graphic designs. The majority of the works presented date from the early 1930s and clearly reflect the architectural and typographic trends of the period. It is not by chance that her construction drawings and collages recall the designs of Bauhaus artists, for this was where various fields such as architecture, art, design, and typography blended in inimitable fashion. Robohm’s geometrical designs, like her use of photographic collage elements with the promise of direct pictorial impact follow in the steps of modernistic design principles.