Book review: Süddeutsche Zeitung

December 3, 2013

In her review of the “magnificent volume” about Kahn, author Laura Weissmüller describes him as “a kind of prime father of data visualization”: “He wanted to visualize knowledge in a way that made it comprehensible for anyone.” Among the illustrative material, she discovers “almost surrealistic excursions into the inner nose, psychedelic color explosions on the intestinal mucosa, and dadaistic photo collages of the internal bone structure. Obviously Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, and Man Ray have been the influences behind” his work. Kahns’ masterpiece – the wall chart “Der Mensch als Industriepalast” (Man as Industrial Palace) – didn’t indicate a mechanistic idea of man but shows Kahn’s enthusiasm about the technology of his time: “Just as he raved about Bauhaus design, he did the same for airplanes, radio transceivers, and even industrial processes. Moreover, his factories are not at the mercy of soulless robots but are always operated by – responsible – human beings.” Weissmüller’s conclusion: “His work fell into oblivion. It’s time to rediscover it.” – Süddeutsche Zeitung is the largest German national subscription daily newspaper.

Süddeutsche Zeitung