From 12. 10. 2024
Until 12. 01. 2025
Language: DE
Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg
Dr.-Johann-Maier-Straße 5, Regensburg

Illustrations on Franz Kafka

From October 12, 2024 to January 12, 2025, the Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg is showing the exhibition „Illustrations of Franz Kafka“. On display are drawings and prints dedicated to the world-famous novel fragments and stories by the writer, who died 100 years ago. Scenes from works such as „The Trial“, „The Metamorphosis“ and „In the Penal Colony“ can be found here in various artistic interpretations.

Franz Kafka (Prague 1883 - 1924 Kierling, Austria) is one of the most important writers of the 20th century. His three posthumously published novel fragments „The Trial“, „The Castle“ and „The Missing Man“ as well as a whole series of stories, including „The Metamorphosis“ and „In the Penal Colony“, are considered key texts of modernism even beyond the German and Czech-speaking world. The relevance of Kafka's prose, which remains unbroken to this day, lies in the fact that it is dedicated to timeless aspects of the human condition. These include themes such as guilt/innocence, power/powerlessness, punishment/redemption.

In the year of the 100th anniversary of Kafka's death, the exhibition „Illustrations of Kafka“ approaches his texts by means of artistic depictions. The holdings of the Graphic Art Collection of the Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie offer a rich selection of examples. The largest collection of around 50 sheets is by Hans Fronius (Sarajevo 1903 - 1988 Mödling, Austria), who worked intensively as an illustrator on all of Kafka's major texts for over five decades until the 1980s. Wolfgang Bier's series on„In the Penal Colony“ is fascinating, in which he deliberately uses the technique of drypoint etching to convey meaning: The scratching of the printing plate with the etching needle corresponds to the depiction of the execution scene, in which the death sentence is literally inscribed into the skin of the condemned man. The illustrations by Svato Zapletal (*1946 Prague) and Peter Grau (Breslau 1928-2016 Leinfelden-Echterdingen) also provide impressive interpretations of the literary models. The iconic physiognomy of the writer is brought to life in the exhibition by a portrait by Friedrich Feigl, who painted his classmate from memory in 1940.

Prof. Dr. Marek Nekula, Professor of Bohemian and West Slavic Studies at the University of Regensburg, is supporting the project and contributing the perspective of literary studies.

Peter Grau, Das Magazin I (Kafka: Tagebuch 1916), 1966
Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg, Inv. Nr. 22830
© Familienarchiv Grau, Jetzendorf, Angela Grau
Photo: Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg