Kitty Kahane
Word Clouds

When someone mentions Franz Kafka, (almost) everyone has an opinion. And it inevitably triggers associations: metamorphosis, bureaucracy, unease, nightmarish situations. Illustrator Kitty Kahane has used associations like this to create word-for-word images in different languages. What do we see in Kafka and his characters, how does he speak to us today? – Take a tour of the Kafka cosmos.

By Kitty Kahane


Kafka word cloud German Kitty Kahane Illustration: Kitty Kahane

The Metamorphosis is probably one of Kafka’s most famous works. It begins with the words “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.”


Kafka word cloud English Kitty Kahane Illustration: Kitty Kahane

The Czech word kavka means “jackdaw”. So Franz Kafka has a connection through his name with this intelligent bird of prey, which might also represent the mysterious and eerie aspects of Kafka’s work.


Kafka word cloud French Kitty Kahane Illustration: Kitty Kahane

The Wish to be a Red Indian is a very short text by Franz Kafka: the idea of riding and at the same time casting aside his spurs and reins – a brief thrill of unbridled speed.


Kafka word cloud Spanish Kitty Kahane Illustration: Kitty Kahane

In the story A Report to an Academy, an ape presents to an academic audience the story of how he has learned to behave like a human and how he views himself in his role as human imitator.