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The success story of the book and radio play series “The Three Investigators” (“Die Drei ???”) is unparalleled: For over 50 years, the three detectives from Rocky Beach have solved every tricky case to talking alarm clocks, whispering mummies or singing snakes.

Illustration: Die drei ??? - Aiga Rasch und die geheimnisvolle Festung
Illustration: Die drei ??? - Aiga Rasch und die geheimnisvolle Festung © Illustration: Aiga Rasch | Design: Andreas Ruch, Düsseldorf | Die drei ??? sind eine eingetragene Marke der Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

The stories are packaged in the book and radio play covers with the now iconic illustrations of Stuttgart artist Aiga Rasch (1941-2009). She helped the crime series break through with her designs. Launched in 1968 in Germany by KOSMOS Verlag, initially with moderate success, she offered the publisher a cover with the striking lettering of the question marks on a black background and a later strong-color image field to market the series. She promised to waive her fee if the publisher did not like her design. They were skeptical at first, since the design contradicted all conventions for books for young readers. However, Aiga Rasch’s success proved her right, and an unmistakable brand was born, which still exists today.

She has designed almost 100 covers for it, yet her name is still largely unknown. It would also be too one-dimensional to reduce her to just that. Her work is much broader and also includes over 600 children’s books and 5000 illustrations for 50 publishers. Aiga Rasch’s associative and very unique style leaves a lot of room for the imagination. Characteristic for the artist are pictorial narrative motifs of high recognition value in felt-tip pen colors.

But how did the individual motifs come about? Which aspects in the stories did she pick out? Where did she find the inspiration for her concise graphic realizations? The exhibition explores these questions with design sketches, alternative designs and original drawings.

The exhibition “Aiga Rasch and the Mysterious Fortress” in the Bastion Kronprinz of the Spandau Citadel provides an overview of the design of book covers and radio plays and of the illustrations for stories from 1963 to 1999 and Rasch’s freely artistic work.

Exciting stories are also to be found in the creation of the designs themselves. In addition to the drawings for “The Three Investigators” (“Die Drei ???”), numerous covers and interior illustrations for other titles from the field of children’s and young adult literature are also on display. Sometimes they are completely different, sometimes there are clear parallels. Aiga Rasch’s estate, which is administered by Matthias Bogucki, holds both revealing and stimulating discoveries in store for us.

We cordially invite you to the mysterious fortress to get to the bottom of the stories in and on the books and in the radio plays.
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