‘Last Folio’

Exhibition Design

An exhibition of photographs of pre-war Jewish life in Slovakia. The exhibition has been shown in eight different locations since 2009, and in 2015 moved to Berlin.

Last Folio – Traces of Jewish Life in Slovakia – an exhibition of photographs by Yuri Dojc, designed by Pentagram – took place in Germany in late April 2015. The exhibition was displayed in Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (National Library of Germany) as part of worldwide commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It came to Berlin from the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Latvia.

To create the exhibition’s content, Dojc repeatedly traveled to Slovakia – first alone and then with filmmaker Katya Krausova – to document what remains of the country’s vibrant pre-war Jewish culture. The photographs are unique in their authenticity, aesthetics and intensity, and depict abandoned Jewish buildings and disintegrating books and documents, including a book once owned by Dojc’s grandfather, Jakob Deutsch.

The journey of the exhibition started in 2009, when Pentagram was asked to design an exhibition that would befit the Gonville and Caius College Library in Cambridge. To do this, Pentagram created a series of virtual spaces that replicate the volume of empty bookcases, each housing one single photograph to fill the ghostly space. Although these oak structures are skeletal and modest, they have been ubiquitous throughout the exhibition’s tour, fitting with meaning in every space.

Since 2009, Last Folio has travelled to Cambridge University, The New York Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Grunwald Gallery of Art in Indiana, the European Commission and Pierre Berge Foundation in Brussels, a synagogue in Kosice in Slovakia, the Biblioteca Nazionale in Rome and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Pentagram used the frames as components to design different layouts for each space, achieving different narratives.

The exhibition in Berlin is accompanied by a documentary and a Prestel art book, designed by Pentagram.

Daniel Weil
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