- 27th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno 2016
A few pre-internet years ago, a young graphic designer had an argument with his Finnish grandfather, an ex-swimming athlete. The designer asked him about the 1940 Helsinki Olympics. The grandfather said they didn’t exist. The young designer thought he had gone senile, as he adamantly knew the event happened. The stand-off was a dead end, as both were sure of their Histories. It has turned out that the young designer relied on a poster he once saw of the 1940 Olympics in an exhibition not unlike this one. Despite the existence of this evidence and the real work put into it – after all the whole International Olympic committee progress was real down to the design work of Ilmari Sysimetsä – a simple poster had created an alternative reality in which the designer lived.
We are surrounded by evidence that we are living in an alternative reality of someone else.
Fast forward to a very near future: You are looking at the front page of a newspaper. President Trump shakes hands with French President Marine Le Pen. Not so funny now, is it?
Conceived by Åbäke (GB)The first time Francesco Spampinato heard the word Åbäke dates back to 2002, and is associated with electronic music label Kitsuné, which is also a quintessential Parisian fashion brand. In fact Kitsuné is just one galaxy – collateral and not even representative – of the Åbäke universe, a Londonbased design studio behind which lurk Patrick Lacey, Bennjamin Reichen, Kajsa Ståhl and Maki Suzuki. Active since 2000, the Royal College of Art alumni count clients like the British Council and the Serpentine Gallery, and collaborations with fashion designers such as Hussein Chalayan and Maison Martin Margiela, artists such as Ryan Gander, Johanna Billing and Martino Gamper, and bands such as Air and Daft Punk. As the term Åbäke suggests, however, the Swedish word for a large and cumbersome object, Francesco suspects that the group supports the burden of design on commission only to learn rules and conventions that it is happy to deconstruct at other times. Åbäke, indeed, is also responsible for meta-design projects, independent, transdisciplinary, strictly collective and often participatory: the dialogical digital platform for architecture Sexymachinery (2000–2008), the relational culinary events of Trattoria (2003), the publishing project Dent-De-Leone (2009), the propaganda for the imaginary Victoria & Alferd Museum (2010), and the spy agency Åffice Suzuki (2010). For Åbäke constantly attracts the attention of the art world: most of its projects do not certainly meet criteria of functionality, but raise questions about how design conveys the forms of transmission of culture. Publications, curatorship, talks and workshops, indeed, are integral part of their activities. So when Spampinato invites the group to be part of his book on art collectives, Åbäke agrees to contribute if Francesco writes in exchange this biography, inserting himself, ‘so it isn’t authorless,’ in third person, putting thereby in crisis the role of the critic and the conditions under which he normally associates intellectual values to cultural phenomena., Sofie Dederen (BE)Studied at Kunsthochschule Weissensee Berlin and Vrije Universiteit Brussel: Freie Kunsten & Communication Science. Curated exhibitions for Storm op Komst / vzw Festivalitis, De Warande, vzw Mooov, Middelheim Museum & bolwerK, Artforum Berlin (until 2010). Since 2010 she is a director of the Frans Masereel Centre. Collaborates with Dutch Design Week Show your Colour, Z33 All the knives, any printed story on request (with Åbäke). Publications and editions includes Jef Geys, More Publishers, An edition in fragmented print(making) attitudes, Gert Verhoeven., Radim Peško (CZ)Radim Peško (1976) is a graphic designer based in London. He works in the field of type design, editorial and exhibition projects. In 2010 he has established his RP Digital Type Foundry that specializes on typefaces that are both formally and conceptually distinctive. His work includes identity for Secession Vienna, typefaces for identities of Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Aspen Art Museum, Fridericianum, Berlin Biennale 8, various work for the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Bedford Press London or a long-term collaboration with artist Kateřina Šedá. He has lectured at many schools including Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, ÉCAL Lausanne, HFK Bremen, KISD Cologne, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon, Sint-Lucas Ghent, University of Seoul. Since 2011 he is part of the curatorial board of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno.
Created in collaboration with Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium.
The exhibition features works of
Mariana Castillo Deball, Santiago Da Silva and Manuel Raeder
Dennis Crompton, Nora Kohen, Will Alsop, Julius Tabacek
Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost
Simon Denny and David Bennewith
Philip K. Dick
Ryan Gander with Rasmus Spanggaard Troelsen
Alexandro Jodorowsky and Michel Landi
Vít Klusák & Filip Remunda with Štěpán Malovec
Transport for London after Harry Beck
Louis Lüthi with RP
Nicholas Matranga & Žiga Testen after J. D. Salinger
Robert V. Novák
Abdolreza Radpey and Djamchid Farahani
Elodie Royer, Yoann Gourmel, Coline Sunier & Charles Mazé
William Safire for Richard Nixon