Hanf in Jena
The artwork “Schott, Zeiss, Universität” by Kurt Hanf (1912-1987) is in the counter hall of Jena’s Saalbahnhof (today: Kulturbahnhof) since 1965. Back then, the mural welcomed and said goodbye to every traveller arriving and departing from Jena. Today, the public access to the artwork is limited.
From 16-20 May, the class 11s/2 of the Montessori School Jena went in search of traces of “Hanf in Jena” and did research on the mural, which depicts the most important industries of the city and is made of metal band.
On the first day of the project, the class visited the Memorial Andreasstraße in Erfurt and studied the art and cultural politics of East Germany. For the second day of the project, the class spend the entire day at the Kulturbahnhof and explored the artwork in detail. The artwork impressively shows how figures can be spatially represented with reduced forms. The students used archive material and literature to gather information on the artwork and its history. Using their own stride and body length, the students were able to determine the dimensions of the artwork.They also interviewed art historian Doris Weilandt about Kurt Hanf’s work and discussed how art from East Germany should be treated today.
During the other days of the project week, 11 students created their own artworks with the help of the artist Robert Krainhöfner. They made sketches and worked on reducing the forms to produce them as 3D objects in paper and plastic. At the end, five students could even produce their artworks in large format with a portable forge. Six students deepened their research from the previous day, interviewed passing pedestrians in front of other artworks by Kurt Hanf in Jena and processed the information they had gathered into a podcast episode.