Kafka: 2024 (Museum Villa Stück, München)

Michael Buhrs, Anne Marr

Museum Villa Stück, München & Walther und Franz König, 2024


The book accompanying the exhibition ‘Kafka: 1924’ is an invitation to a journey through a Kafkaesque universe. Specially created prose pieces accompany selected works of contemporary art that encounter Kafka’s literature, his relationship to Munich and his passion for art. The focal point of the exhibition is Kafka’s story ‘In the Penal Colony’. It contains central themes such as shame, guilt and powerlessness as well as Kafka’s characteristic macabre humor. The writer read from this story in Munich at one of his only two public appearances. As a result, guests are said to have fainted and been carried out.

The book design takes the typographical form of the first publication of Kafka’s ‘A Country Doctor’ as the starting point – this was also originally the planned design for ‘In the Penal Colony’. As a tribute to the 100th anniversary of his death, the story appears in the typographical form that Kafka so appreciated.
“Like a dog!” he said, it was as if the shame should outlive him. Franz Kafka ends his novel “The Trial” with this sentence and names a central theme in his work: shame. They and many other themes associated with Kafka’s work have actually outlived the writer and achieved universal and everlasting independence as “Kafkaesque”. Where there is fear, desperation, eerie and claustrophobic conditions, bureaucratic constraints and abuse of power, a mental bridge to Kafka is often built. Many artists who are at the center of the exhibition received important inspiration from this. This catalog summarizes positions in art from the 20th and 21st centuries that explicitly or implicitly refer to Kafka. Characters from stories and novels by Franz Kafka introduce the individual themes: The officer from the “penal colony”, Gregor Samsa from “The Metamorphosis”, Karl Rossmann from “The Verschollene”, the surveyor K. from the “Schloss”, the nameless one Animal from the “Bau” and of course Josef K. from the “Process”. The catalog goes beyond the educated middle class reception of Kafka and is aimed at a broad audience. Comics provide a low-threshold introduction to the topic and show different facets of the individual protagonists from Kafka’s writings.


ISBN: 9783753306049

672 pagina's, illustraties in kleur en z/w, 23,5 x 16 cm, hardcover, Engels/Duits