From 6 May 2021 to 13 March 2022, the Belvedere, one of the most famous and biggest museums in Vienna, hosts an exhibition dedicated to one of the works of the Austrian sculptor Fritz Wotruba (1907–1975): the Kirche Zur Heiligsten Dreifaltigkeit, or Church of the Most Holy Trinity, in Vienna’s Mauer district, made in collaboration with the architect Fritz Gerhard Mayr and completed in 1976 after the sculptor’s death. Wotruba is one of the leading figures of classical sculpture of the twentieth century in Austria: his work, a sculptural abstraction inhabited with a lively figuration, is recognizable with its arrangements of sculpted cubicles and cylinders, which creates complex structures that seem to be stopped in motion.
The catalog of the exhibition presents a record of the realization of the church and its controversial reception; it also puts this specific project in perspective with Wotruba’s body of work. The 128-pages book was designed by Manuel Radde and published by Koenig Books. The cover is made with a brown textured cloth, reminding us of the church’s walls of concrete. In its design, Manuel Radde kept the idea of modular blocks that we see in the peculiar architecture of the church: text blocks have a variable width and are sometimes intertwined with image blocks, giving an organicity to the layout of the interior.
The publication is set in ABC Whyte from Dinamo and Media Sans from Production Type. Due to its horizontal endings, Whyte is a stable sans: this reinforces the compactness of the texts and the architectural feeling of the whole without making it abrupt, thanks to the smoothness of its design. On the other hand, Media Sans brings density and impacts the white of the page with its blackness: there again, the harshness of the typeface is tempered by its contrasted, Antique Olive-like, upstrokes and downstrokes. This attention-grabbing typeface was necessary to emulate the shock that this construction caused, bringing the legacy of the avant-garde into the religious field.