- 27th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno 2016
BB What is your relationship with the Brno Biennial?
LD I take the Brno Biennial to be one of the most comprehensive international shows of graphic design thanks to which I can reflect my work in an essential way. Personally I find it important that it takes place in the Czech Republic, as in my opinion the more progressive neo-liberal countries are interested in seeing the direction in which our discipline is going to develop in the context of Central Europe, where strong modernist traditions originated. In this respect we are ‘unpresumable’ and it depends mainly upon us what we can do with this attractive position.
BB Presently you are acting as vice-chair of the Board whose task it is to formulate the future of the Brno Biennial. How do you envisage the development and in particular the future of the Biennial?
LD Actually I became really interested in the Biennial after the change in its traditional structure which brought about the thematic foci of the past two years and along with it a new view of the competition show. The last one, on the theme of Education, was directed towards students and this year’s invited the submission of complete collections rather than just individual works. This approach enables us to better understand the context of the works’ origin with respect to their formal treatment. The format of the Off Programme then provides space for alternative presentations of the individual disciplines… I greatly appreciate how essentially the approach of the institution to the Biennial as such managed to change and how it was projected into its content as a result. The future of the Biennial, as I see it, consists not just in displaying once in two years what is most up-to-date, what happened in the discipline and discussing it, but at the same time to build a platform in the Moravian Gallery with a task of consistently analysing the essentials of this show and its further options. I don’t think that this should necessarily be exclusively the role of external curators.
BB The Brno Biennial is a unique event of global significance with a long international tradition, to which people come every two years from the world over. What should be the ambitions of its organizers?
LD The Biennial enjoys undisputed renown in the international context and we therefore have to view it from a broader perspective. Together with the organisers we should think about what is specific for us in Brno and in the Czech Republic and what can enrich us. I continue to miss respectable organizations (at different levels) dealing with graphic design. I think that it is an institution such as the Moravian Gallery which has remarkable collections available that should see an opportunity in this situation.
BB You yourself move between different disciplines, designing and publishing your own publications, teaching graphic design, you are a curator of exhibitions … we could say that the scope of your interests in a way reflects contemporary graphic design, don’t you think?
LD My work and the way in which it develops is thematically narrowly delimited and although in essence it is not directly concerned with graphic design, it is often intentionally presented as such. I work with existing genres which I use in untypical situations and graphic design is a discipline with an excellent ability to appropriate many things. The scope of interest that you listed ensues from my natural need to look at the same thing from different angles, and by doing so to understand it better.
BB This edition of the Brno Biennial responds to the metamorphoses and the state of contemporary graphic design; its multitude, variety, vagueness and apparent superficiality. Can you identify some of the basic parameters, current themes or motivations of contemporary graphic design?
LD We cannot expect from the contemporary world that it will be easy to understand and clear to look at. For me, one of the topical and welcome themes is hybridisation. And here I return to the Czech context which I mentioned at the beginning. It is a great advantage that the Central European mentality is not so strictly biased by professional categorization and we are therefore able to perceive in a more complex way the on-going process of hybridisation which gives rise to a new reality. Hybridisation is a phenomenon which changed the view of society initially within the discipline of sociology. But for me it is important how it is reflected in art and related disciplines. It is a theme that we have been studying for a long time with my sister (Daniela Dostálková) and now we find great opportunities for its use. An example may be the application of corporate strategies to art-related areas and vice versa; so-called alternative-corporate thinking. There I also see the role of the designer and/or artist as the correct and sensitive mediator.
Blurring the lines between disciplines, Linda Dostálková challenges accepted distinctions, in questioning of identity. Through her projects, she visualises self-doubt developed in art and in counterculture in simplified and commodified forms, delivers a specific input for a specific situation. Argues that the spectator is always already active. Linda Dostálková is the vice-chair of the Board of the Brno Biennial.
Short interviews with collaborators of the 27th Brno Biennial, authors of its exhibitions, jury members and Biennial Talks speakers.
Interviews and graphic design: Radim Peško 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., Tomáš Celizna Tomáš Celizna (1977) is interested in graphic design in connection with new technologies. He is a founding partner of design studio dgú in Prague (2001 to 2005), recipient of J. W. Fulbright Scholarship (2006), and holds MFA in graphic design from Yale University School of Art (2008). He currently lives and works independently in Amsterdam. Collaborations include, among others, OASE Journal for Architecture, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Since 2011 he is a lecturer in graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, and a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno., Adam Macháček Adam Macháček (1980) is a graphic designer. Following studies at the AAAD in Prague, Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and ÉCAL in Lausanne, he co-founded in 2004 studio Welcometo.as in Lausanne and is a member of 201∞ Designers collective. His work includes publications, exhibition catalogues, illustrations and identities. Collaborations include, among others, the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Théâtre de Vevey (seasons 2003–2012), Galerie Rudolfinum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, Editions Pyramyd, Museum of Czech Literature, Brno House of Arts, California College of the Arts, Airbnb. For Brno Biennial he initiated and organized exhibitions Work from Switzerland (2004) and From Mars (2006, together with Radim Peško). Since 2011 he is a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design in Brno. He lives and works in Berkeley.
Translation and copy editing: Alena Benešová, Kateřina Tlachová
Production: Miroslava Pluháčková
Printed by: Tiskárna Helbich s. r. o.
Print run: 2000
Published by the Moravian Gallery in Brno, 2016