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. At that time, 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.

Throughout the remaining days of the project week, 11 students, with guidance from the artist Robert Krainhöfner, created their own artworks. They produced sketches and worked on simplifying forms to create 3D objects in paper and plastic. Ultimately, five students were even able to produce their artworks in large format using a portable forge. Meanwhile, six students furthered their research from the previous day, interviewing passing pedestrians in front of other artworks by Kurt Hanf in Jena and processing the gathered information into a podcast episode.

Kulturbahnhof Jena

Artist Name

Kurt Hanf

Artwork title, year

Schott Zeiss Universität, 1965

technique, Dimensions

aluminium band, approx. 11m x 5,5m

project period

16-20 May 2022

Name of the school

Montessorischule Jena




Karl, Leonie, J., Josephine, Grete, Charlot, Ronja, N., Lara, Luca, Ben, Vincent, Viviane, Konstantin, Amelie, Lilly, Juri

Teacher's name

Norman Kandzia


Robert Krainhöfner


Doris Weilandt


Kulturbahnhof Jena