Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

Exhibitions | Exploring Bally

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Bernard Villemot, 
Bally
– La mappemonde, 1988



Bally – Swiss Shoes Since 1851
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Zürich | Switzerland
14 March > 11 August 2019



Thomas Cugini,
fashion photography
SS 1970, 1970



In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay conquered Everest in Bally boots. Synonymous with functionality, modernity and refined design, Bally’s finely-crafted, high-traction hiking boot is now commonly seen walking city streets.

The international luxury goods brand was founded as a shoe manufacturer in a small Swiss village in 1851. Now based in Milan, but still with shoes at its core, Bally creates two new collections per year that include women’s and men’s bags and accessories, as well as women’s ready-to-wear fashion. Championing exploration, discovery, and sport, its expanding range includes military and sports shoes.

Bally ski boot, 1930s



Pioneering from the beginning: despite resistance from the local shoemakers’ guild, Carl Franz Bally organised his company’s shoe production along industrial lines. He was a progressive employer, who, with remarkable foresight realised that his factory workers would be happier (and healthier) with comfortable conditions and access to decent food. The canteen Bally established for them in 1879, was replaced in 1915 by The Kosthaus. Set in parkland, it was an early commission for Karl Moser, who would later be hailed as one of the fathers of Swiss modernism. It included a large dining room, rooms that could be rented and showers for use by Bally employees, who nicknamed it the Parkhotel.

The Subtle Art of
Shoe Caring,
Bally booklet, 2014



Bernard Villemot,
Bally, 1979



Bally opened its first shop in Geneva in the early 1870s. One in Buenos Aires soon followed, as well as others in Paris and London. More recently, in the 1980s, Bally was one of the first to establish an outlet in post-reform China. Its forward-thinking and modern aesthetic – reflected strongly in its graphics, as well as in its shop interiors – has continued to play a key role in its development and in the way the company presents itself. Its London flagship store was designed by David Chipperfield Architects in 2014.

Bally, Scribe
campaign,
AW 2018
Photo Maurizio
Bavutti, 2018


In addition to many examples of advertising and print material, Bally – Swiss Shoes Since 1851 at Museum für Gestaltung Zürich presents a cross-section of the whole range of Bally shoes from different eras. It will start out by featuring pieces from the spring/summer 2019 collections and later update the display with others from the new autumn/winter collection.

All images courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich © Bally Schuhfabriken AG


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Exhibitions | Building on 3D Lettering

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Terracotta lettering
facade, for Hackney
Empire Theatre, London,
UK, by Tim Ronalds
Architects
with Richard
Ho
llis
, 2004

© Hélène Binet



3D Lettering on Buildings
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Zürich | Switzerland
7 December 2018 > 14 April 2019



Superbüro’s oak
floor number for the
new building at
Neue Volksschule
Brünnen, Bern-West,
Switzerland, by Ernst
Gerber Architekten

and Urech Architekten,
2015 > 2016

© Superbüro



This is how a random bunch of international, commercial businesses enthusiastically advertise the attractions of 3D signage on buildings:

‘3D letters give building signs depth and impact… A 3D lettering sign gives a building a sense of permanence… 3D signage catches the eye by standing out… 3D signs are a great way to add depth and texture to your signage… 3D lettering and 3D logos add an element of sophistication and individuality to your business… If you’d like your 3D signage to stand out, even more, we offer face-lit and reverse-lit lighting options… 3D building signs are a fantastic and great-looking way to brand your building… 3D signs provide that extra visual connection with a building’s occupants… 3D signage can help your business stand out from the crowd… 3D signs give a professional and high-class look… 3D signs can be static or illuminated to help create a modern professional look for your building, reception area or store… 3D signage looks great on monument signs or also on a building… Our eye-catching 3D building lettering will guarantee your signage and brand stands out from the crowd… 3D signs are ideal for commercial building signage, as attention-grabbing retail signs or for creating a strong brand identity in your office reception signage…’

In contrast, the dead-pan title of the forthcoming show, 3D Lettering on Buildings, may sound uninspiring. However, the Swiss are masters of the understatement; what at first sight appear to be low-key exhibitions turn out to be – much like the subject matter of this one – hugely impactful as well as fascinating and informative.

Lochergut, illuminated
lettering sculpture
by Olaf Nicolai on
the Grand Café
Lochergut building,
Zürich, Switzerland,
2006, (modified, 2016),
by Pool Architekten

© Marcel Meury



Detail of Vai com
Deus
(sayings about
God) in applied
relief for a chapel
converted into a gallery
in Lisbon, Portugal,
by R2 Design, 2008

© R2 Design



Detail of biogas
station facade panels
made of Nabasco, in
Dinteloord, Netherlands,
by Studio Marco
Vermeulen
, 2013

© Ronald Tilleman



Although the title gives no clue, the 24 international examples included – all produced during the past twenty years – relate to specific architecture and its surroundings, and are the result of architects and artists, working together in interdisciplinary teams to create bespoke 3D lettering for buildings. For example, Beat Keusch Visuelle Kommunikation collaborated with architects Herzog & de Meuron on signage for Basel’s REHAB Centre for Spinal Cord and Brain Injuries. Respected British designer, teacher and author Richard Hollis worked closely with Tim Ronalds Architects, who undertook the restoration of the Hackney Empire in London, devising giant terracotta letters for its façade. Meanwhile, Pool Architekten asked the German conceptual artist, Olaf Nicolai, to construct a unique 3D light sculpture for the Grand Café Lochergut building in Zürich.

Facade lettering by
Beat Keusch Visuelle
Kommunikation
,
on the new REHAB
building, Basel,
Switzerland, by Herzog
& de Meuron
, 2007

© BKVK



While acknowledging the obvious fact that 3D signage, in the form of recessed inscriptions and bronze letters has been around since ancient times, the exhibition’s organisers demonstrate that new production techniques such as 3D printing and 3D milling, as well as new ways of using conventional processes and materials, are being combined and experimented with to produce signage that fulfils all of the promises made by the commercial businesses, above, with a more thoughtful approach that is pushing hard against creative boundaries.

As well as architectural photographs, some of which we show here, 3D Lettering on Buildings at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich features a range of scale models, prototypes, documents and films illustrating the creative, manufacturing and installation process.

Photos courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich


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Art | Shizuko Yoshikawa’s Concrete Zen

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Yoshikawa’s
series painting,
m93 strange fabric
– breathing field 13
,
from 1997



Shizuko Yoshikawa
By Gabrielle Schaad
Edited by Lars Müller
with an essay by
Midori Yoshimoto

Lars Müller Publishers
Text in English,
Japanese and German.
248 pages, 236 images,
hardback.
Available now



Lars Müller Publishers’ beautifully-designed books all bear a strong family resemblance that is generally consistent with Josef Müller-Brockmann’s classic Swiss design style, and this one is no exception. As Lars and Josef’s surnames both include ‘Müller’, I had always assumed that they were father and son, uncle and nephew, or, perhaps, brothers. Suspicious of nepotism, I was, therefore, sceptical about reviewing this monograph on the work of Müller-Brockmann’s wife, Shizuko Yoshikawa – an artist I’d, personally, never heard of – that Lars Müller has edited and written the very reverential introductory text for, as well as published.



Concrete relief
works completed
by Yoshikawa
in Zürich locations
in 1983 (left)
and 1972 (right)



Relief work,
fs 74 colour
shadows/2×5

from 1979



Untitled painting
by Yoshikawa
from 2016/2017
in tempera
and pearl acrylic
on canvas



Shizuko Yoshikawa was born in Japan in 1934. Aged 27, she and her husband, an economist, relocated to Germany in 1961, where she studied at the legendary, Bauhaus-inspired Ulm School of Design (Hochschüle für Gestaltung) and came under the spell of Josef Müller-Brockmann (1914 > 1996), her typography teacher, for whom, two years later, she left to work for, as a freelance designer, in Zürich, Switzerland. In 1967, after her divorce, he would become her second husband.

Despite not having completed her course at Ulm, the school’s holistic, multidisciplinary teaching methods that emphasised the importance of sociology, psychology, politics, economics, philosophy and systems-thinking alongside aesthetics, and went far beyond the Bauhaus approach of simply integrating art, craft and technology, had a significant effect on her.

Driven and independently-minded, from the late 60s, Yoshikawa, fusing influences from Ulm with Japanese Zen sensitivity, began her transformation from graphic designer to visual artist and by 1972 had produced her first large-scale, wall relief sculptures for one of suburban Zurich’s public spaces. Since then, as an exponent of Swiss Concrete Art – a movement founded by De Stijl’s Theo Van Doesburg in 1930, of which Max Bill, who had taught at The Bauhaus and been the first rector of the Ulm School, and who Yoshikawa had come into contact with in Zürich, had become the flagbearer in the 1940s – she has come to be revered as one of Switzerland’s most important contemporary artists. While much of her oeuvre consists of series paintings, her spatial design in, on and around buildings – sadly, under-represented in this book – has been a constant feature of her work.



Posters by Josef
Müller Brockmann
and Yoshikawa,
from 1994 (left),
and posters by
Yoshikawa from
1974 and 1978, right



Yoshikawa’s
series painting,
m466 strange
fabric – flying
,
completed in 1995



Lars Müller, born in Oslo in 1955, is a Norwegian citizen, who, as a young boy, was relocated to Switzerland (coincidentally, in 1963, the same year that Yoshikawa arrived there) and studied graphic design in Zurich from 1975 to 1979. When Müller founded his publishing house in Baden, Switzerland, in 1983, focusing on books on architecture, design, typography, art, and photography, he and Josef Müller-Brockmann, his former, exacting teacher and mentor, became close friends. I was very relieved to discover that they were unrelated and that my fears were totally unfounded. I am grateful to Lars Müller for introducing me to Shizuko Yoshikawa’s paintings and sculptures, which have been regularly exhibited in Switzerland, as well as in Japan, Sweden, Argentina and the USA and astonished that, to date, her work has been largely ignored in the UK.

Lars Müller PublishersShizuko Yoshikawa is guaranteed to broaden the artist’s international audience.

All pages from the book, courtesy Lars Müller Publishers


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Design | If You Don’t Like It, Fight It!

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Germar Wambach,
Terror – Error, 1992
© Germar Wambach



Protest!
Resistance Posters
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Arial,
Zürich | Switzerland
20 April > 2 September 2018



Atelier Populaire
(anonymous collective),
On vous intoxique!, 1968
© unknown



1968. It was to be expected that a whole series of international visual arts presentations would mark the anniversary of such a momentous year. To date, we’ve blogged about three directly and indirectly-related events: Klaus Staeck: Sand in the GearboxDay by Day: 1968, and Power to the People: Political Art Now. No doubt, in the coming months, we’ll cover others as we hear about them.

Bruce Kaiper,
Love, 1974
© unknown



Luba Lukova,
Sudan, 1999
© Luba Lukova



Niklaus Troxler, 1992
© ProLitteris



We make no apologies for this: the turmoil the world is currently experiencing – Trump’s roller coaster US presidency, Russia’s sinister undermining of democracy, the madness of Britain’s apparently inexorable exit from the EU, the resurgence of right wing politics across Europe, the inhumanity of the Syria crisis, North Korea’s dangerous posturing, the destructive nature of Islamic extremism, the economic imbalance caused by globalisation, our growing awareness of the seriousness of environmental issues, as well the battle raging for women’s rights – render 2018 shows, such as these and this forthcoming one in Switzerland, particularly timely and thought-provoking.

Luis Veiga, 2016
© Luis Veiga



Protest! Resistance Posters at Museum für Gestaltung Zürich will bring together a selection of some 300 posters from a host of international designers, the majority of which were produced during the past 50 years.

All posters from Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection, courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Photography | Seeing Between the Lines

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Abelardo Morell,
Book with Wavy Pages, 2001
© Abelardo Morell,
Courtesy the artist and
Edwynn Houk Gallery,
New York & Zurich



The Beauty of Lines:
Masterpieces from
the Gilman and
Gonzalez-Falla Collection
Musée de l’Elysée
Lausanne | Switzerland
31 January > 6 May 2018



Laurent Elie Badessi,
Man’s Back, Horse’s Back,
Camargue, France, 1994
© Laurent Elie Badessi



To hook readers, or viewers, hard copy magazines and newspapers, as well as their online versions, and blogs such as this one, will, most often and quite naturally, opt to feature examples of work by famous photographers as opposed to those by unfamiliar ones.

When the line-up, such as in this case, includes material by household names, among them, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, Bill Brandt, Edward Burtynsky, Harry Callahan, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Doisneau, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, André Kertész, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Alexander Rodchenko, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Edward Weston and has been selected from a world-renowned collection of original, contemporary photographs and vintage prints, why would they do otherwise?

Stéphane Couturier,
Barendrecht n° 1, 2004
© Stéphane Couturier
Courtesy La Galerie
Particulière, Paris &
Bruxelles



Cig Harvey, The Pale
Yellow Cadillac, Sadie,
Portland, Maine, 2010
© Cig Harvey



Ordinarily, the work of sometimes equally-talented but less well-known practitioners would stand little chance of being selected for publication. However, for whatever reason – worries regarding copyright infringement and online piracy, perhaps – of the images going on show in this forthcoming exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysée, only a few by photography’s A-listers – one by Karl Blossfeldt, one by Lewis Hine and another by Walker Evans – have been made available to the press.

Ray K Metzker,
New Mexico, 1971
© Estate of Ray K Metzker



Augusto Cantamessa,
Breve Orizzonte, 1955
© Augusto Cantamessa,
concession de Bruna
Genovesio et Patrik Losano



Ironically, on this occasion, it allows us the opportunity to surprise you with images from photographers who, while none of them is obscure, you may be unfamiliar with. You may never have seen these pictures before but they provide a good indication of the excellent quality of work that is to be found throughout the Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Collection, which is regarded as one of best private collections of photography in the world.

The Beauty of Lines: Masterpieces from the Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Collection, at the Musée de l’Elysée, includes 150 photographs and takes the line as its theme.


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Photography | Mountain Highs

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Maurice Schobinger,
Face to Face – Lenzspitze, 2015

© Maurice Schobinger,
Collection du Musée de l’Elysée



Vertical No Limit.
Mountain Photography

Musée de l’Elysée
Lausanne
Switzerland
25 January  >  30 April 2017



Charles Charnaux,
Le Cervin, c 1910 > 1920

© Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne,
Collection du Musée de l’Elysée



Fear? Exhilaration? The young city gent with his back toward the viewer in German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich’s famous Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818), might have felt a mixture of both.

Friedrich himself (1774 > 1840) died just as photography was being born. The early photographers would soon capture real images of the mountains – referred to with awe as God’s Country – a hitherto cursed and surreal place, inaccessible to man – allowing ordinary people to view the object of their fear and fascination in close up for the first time, albeit at safe distance.

Yann Gross,
Avalanche 4, 2006

© Yann Gross



Roland Gay-Couttet,
Aiguille d’Argentiäre escalade,
c 1960 > 1970

© Hubert Gay-Couttet
et Samuel Gay-Couttet



As citizens of 21st century citizens of the world, we like to think of ourselves as more worldly, less superstitious and less fearful than our forebears. We go hill walking and do a little rock-climbing, but leave scaling the highest and most precipitous peaks to the professionals. Many of us have taken a ski lift to the top of an alpine mountain and skied down a proscribed route. The braver among us have gone off piste. We’ve all gazed down with fascination and curiosity on seemingly endless expanses of snowy pinnacles from aircraft windows, but few of us have asked to be deposited by helicopter on an isolated, snow-covered summit with just a pair of skis to get us off it. Just like our ancestors, we are content to be voyeurs, happy to experience the more extreme thrills vicariously via the lens of an intrepid photographer.

René Burri,
Alpes suisses vues d’avion, 1981

© René Burri – Magnum Photos,
Collection du Musée de l’Elysée



John Jullien,
Traversee de la Mer de Glace, c 1880

© Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne,
Collection du Musée de l’Elysée



Transported through time, dressed in a sharp contemporary style suit, and positioned before a huge digital, photographic image in the exhibition Vertical No Limit. Mountain Photography at Lausanne’s Musée de l’Elysée, would the feelings of Friedrich’s young man have drastically altered, or be much different from our own? Probably not.

All images courtesy Musée de l’Elysée


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Design | Swiss Paris

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Adrian Frutiger
Type study OCR B,
c 1963



Les Suisses de Paris
Grafik und Typografie
Museum für Gestaltung
Zürich | Switzerland
4 November 2016 > 19 March 2017



André Baldinger,
Eiffel-Level 2
Font family, 2005 > 2009

© André Baldinger



Jean Widmer /
Visuel Design
Centre Georges
Pompidou
logo
proof, 1977



In contrast to Switzerland, where an older generation of designers and typographers dominated the limited market, Paris offered a warm welcome to the influx of young Swiss designers who went there to find work in the 1950s. Resting on its diminishing reputation as a centre for the artistic avant garde, in terms of current trends, the city’s home-grown designers lagged a long way behind their Swiss neighbours, many of whom had adopted the elementary principles of Swiss or international style, but whose work also soon reflected the emerging visual art styles of Op art and Pop, who drew influences from iconoclastic French new wave / Nouvelle vague cinema ideas, as well as from America.

Jean Widmer
Galeries Lafayette,
unpublished
advertising, 1959



Friedrich Schrag
(art director),
Irving Penn
(photographer).

Adam magazine
cover, 1961



During 1950, 60s and 70s many Swiss designers would become established in Paris and come to occupy key positions within the French design industry. Among them, and one of the first to arrive, Jean Widmer came to study then got a job in an advertising agency. Becoming art director at the department store Galeries Lafayette in 1959 he introduced the innovative idea, picked up on a trip to New York, of entertaining the store’s shoppers rather than just selling to them. Moving to the fashion magazine Jardin des Modes, where he began to playfully mix photographic images and typography Widmer became involved in a competition with fellow-Swiss Peter Knapp (Knapp, incidentally, among other things, re-drew the Galleries Lafayette logo, and, revolutionised French television), who was at Elle in Paris, as well as with Henry Wolf at Harper’s Bazaar in New York. ‘It was very stimulating, he told Eye magazine in 1999, ‘you knew all the others were doing interesting things so you really had to prove yourself.’ By the late 60s, Widmer had adopted a simpler, more rational approach, which led to him producing tourism pictograms in the 1970s, and French motorways signs in 1978. In 1977, his company Visuel Design were responsible for the Centre Georges Pompidou logo.


Fred Rawyler,
Fashion show
invitation
for Indreco,
Summer 1967



Of the more recent Swiss designers to take up residence in Paris, André Baldinger, now a renowned designer, typographer and art educator, went there in 1995. His many accolades include the AB Eiffel font for the Eiffel Tower signage project. For forty years Bruno Suter divided his time between Lucerne and Paris, working for luxury brand clients such Hermès, Lanvin, Galéries Lafayette, as well as for Benetton. Fred Rawyler is probably best-known for his Hermés headscarf designs, while Adam men’s magazine art director, Friedrich Schrag commissioned prominent international photographers such as Irving Penn to produce covers.

Adrian Frutiger’s career had taken off in Paris when he moved there the same year as Jean Widmer and became artistic director of the type foundry Deberny & Peignot. In 1961 with 10 years successful work behind him, during which he developed his font family Univers – an immediate, global success – he left and opened a graphics studio with two partners outside Paris, that produced typefaces and created logos and corporate identities. In France, Frutiger designed lettering systems for Paris’s Orly airport and for the Paris Metro as well as a new information system for the Charles de Gaulle air terminal, while he was also commissioned to create fonts and signage for the Swiss highways. From 1963 to 1981, Frutiger was responsible for the design and adaptation of typewriter and composer fonts at the IBM World Fair and his computer type OCR B became a worldwide standard in 1973.

Les Suisses de Paris, Grafik und Typografie, at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich presents the work of 20 Swiss protagonists from the period.

All images courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
All images from the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich Plakatsammlung, except André Baldinger, Eiffel-Level 2


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Design | 100 Best German-Speaking Posters

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Striped Hills
Designed by Timo Lenzen, Germany
For Durex China, Shanghai
(via S-LAB, Beijing/Shanghai).
Digital print
© Timo Lenzen/100 Beste Plakate eV



100 Best Posters 15
Germany Austria Switzerland /
100 Beste Plakate 15
Deutschland Österreich Schweiz
MAK
Vienna | Austria
28 September 2016 > 5 February 2017



Hello Hello
Designed by Yvo Hählen
+ Priscilla Balmer, A3 studio, Switzerland

Commissioned by the artists.
Digital print
© A3 studio/100 Beste Plakate eV



More than 2000 were entered by 125 agencies and graphic design studios, 465 individual designers and 15 clients, and 964 posters made it through to the final round of the Vienna-based competition. In the true spirit of fairness which the organisers pride themselves upon, only two posters from Austria itself will appear in the 100-strong exhibition, along with 50 by Swiss designers and 48 from Germany.

Was glaubst du, wer du bist? /
Who do you think you are?
Designed by Günter Karl Bose
+ Uwe Langner,
LMN-Berlin, Germany
For Theater Bonn.
Digital print
© LMN-Berlin/100 Beste Plakate eV



Zwickl – Schwandorfer Dokumentarfilmtage 2015 /
Zwickl – Schwandorf documentary film days 2015
Designed by Oliver Hofmann + Benjamin Buchegger
+ Daniel Car, Beton – Gruppe für Gestaltung, Austria
For City of Schwandorf, Anne Schleicher.
Offset print
© Beton – Gruppe für Gestaltung/100 Beste Plakate eV



The most popular graphic design competition in the German-speaking world, the formidable jury consisting of chairman Gunter Rambow (Germany) , Günter Eder (Vienna) and Megi Zumstein (Lucerne), is augmented by Barcelona and Berlin-based, British designer Patrick Thomas, and Latvian-born, Igor Gurovich, graphic designer and tutor at the National Design Institute (Moscow).

Design x Taipei
Designed Jianping He, Hesign, Germany
For Taiwan Poster Association, Taipei.
Silk-screen print
© Hesign/100 Beste Plakate eV



Howlong Wolf
Design Isabelle Mauchle, Switzerland
For Neubad, Lucerne.
Digital print
© Isabelle Mauchle/100 Beste Plakate eV



According to Rambow, who has been designing since 1960, is a former professor of graphic design at the University of Kassel and of Visual Communication at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe, and who regularly designs the posters for the Frankfurt Opera, the poster scene is on the move. New tendencies from youth culture are becoming visible, he says, and many graffiti sprayers have become designers. However, ‘Although they have always had intense competition, posters as images in public space will maintain their significance,’ he reassures us.

A catalogue for the MAK exhibition 100 Best Posters 15. Germany Austria Switzerland / 100 Beste Plakate 15. Deutschland Österreich Schweiz (Atlas 15), by Anita Kühnel will be available at the MAK Design Shop.

All images courtesy MAK


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Photography | A Surreality Check

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Man Ray, Rayograph (Spiral), 1923
Photogram on silver gelatin paper
© Man Ray Trust / 2015, ProLitteris, Zurich



Real Surreal
− Masterpieces of Avant-Garde Photography
The New Look 1920 > 1950
Museum Bellerive
Zürich | Switzerland
1 April  > 24 July 2016



František Drtikol, Circular segment (Arc), 1928
Pigment print
© František Drtikol-heirs, 2015



So familiar are we with the classic artworks of the surrealist era – lobster telephones, bowler-hatted men with apples floating in front of their faces, and fur cups and saucers – that with a little dexterity, we can easily create entertaining images inspired by them ourselves on our computers or tablets and even on our phones. But, perhaps we’ve allowed our idea of what surrealism was, or indeed is, to be confined to just a few stereotypes, while the thinking on which surrealism was founded provided a point of departure for infinitely diverse imagery.

As World War I raged, the Dada movement threw out all the established conventions of what constituted art. Forming in their wake, the surrealists – originally a literary movement established in 1924 that would, after initial reluctance, welcome painters, then photographers – found new inspiration in founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud’s theories about the unconscious and the interpretation of dreams. Taking Freud’s fundamental rule that his patients must be absolutely honest, and never leave anything out, even if it is unpleasant to expose, together with his interest in the internal mental conflicts that kept experiences buried deep within the mind, as the basis for their explorations they would produce art that was unfettered by rules and conformed to no previously-established formulae.

Grete Stern, The Eternal Eye, 1950
Photomontage on silver gelatin paper
© Estate of Grete Stern
Courtesy Galeria Jorge Mara,
La Ruche, Buenos Aires, 2015



Genia Rubin, Lisa Fonssagrives.
Dress: Alix (Grés)
, 1937

Print on silver gelatin paper
© Sheherazade Ter-Abramoff, Paris



Innovative technical developments that emerged in photography at the time rendered the medium far more accessible, allowing the surrealist photographers to be prolific and move rapidly from one experiment to the next. Man Ray would contrive new ways of looking at and presenting subject matter and invented innovative dark room techniques such as solarisation that allowed him to produce prints that were like nothing that had been seen before. He experimented with multiple exposures and produced photograms in the darkroom without a camera.

Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy also produced radical surrealist photography, and there is a long list of photographers including Eugène Atget, Herbert Bayer, Hans Bellmer, Brassaï, Florence Henri, Germaine Krull, Herbert List, August Sander and Umbo, among others, some of whom were associated with the movement from its early days, and others who produced surrealist photographs afterwards and right up into the 1950s, each of whom interpreted surrealism from their own individual viewpoint. Real Surreal is an exhibition of the extraordinary work of these photographers, among which certain stylistic approaches to mood, lighting and sometimes propping was common, and form a discernible link, but that bristles with unparalleled innovation in terms of ideas that combine to form the influential and enduring legacy of the movement.

Albert Renger-Patzsch, Self-portrait, 1926/27
Print on silver gelatin paper
© Albert Renger Patzsch Archiv /
Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Köln / 2015,
ProLitteris, Zurich



From the 1960s up until his death in 1991, the French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin, who had first-hand inspiration from Man Ray himself, produced powerful, often shocking and incredibly stylish images, borne out of a surrealist mindset, without ever falling into the trap of aping his hero’s work.

It’s apparent in the work of contemporary fine art photographers such as Cindy Sherman, who approaches her compelling self-portraits from a standpoint which asserts that identity lies in appearance, not in reality, that it remains possible to create work from a unique surrealist perspective. Younger photographers, too, like Amsterdam-based Viviane Sassen, who, having looked hard at the original surrealist imagery then put it to one side, are creating fresh and intense, original work – the stuff that dreams are made of.

Previously shown at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany, Real Surreal − Masterpieces of Avant-Garde Photography is showing around 220 works from The Dietmar Siegert Collection.

Related event
Neues Sehen Photographs of
the 1920 and 1930s
from the
Ann und Jürgen Wilde Collection

Pinakothek der Moderne
Munich | Germany
Until 30 September 2016

All images courtesy Museum Bellerive


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Design | Punchy Image / Sensitive Touch

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Karl Gerstner, Auch Du bist liberal /
You’re liberal too
, 1956.
Political poster
© Karl Gerstner / Muriel Gerstner
(represented by Maria Jurkovic)



Handzeichen / Hand Signs
Museum für Gestaltung – Schaudepot
Zürich | Switzerland
27 November 2015 > 28 February 2016

+

Bitte berühren! / Please touch!
Museum für Gestaltung – Schaudepot
Zürich | Switzerland
27 November 2015 > 20 March 2016

+

Poster Collection 27:
Die Hand / The Hand
Edited by the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Lars Müller Publishers, (2015)
98 pp, 120 illustrations,
paperback



Armin Hofmann,
Stadttheater Basel 63/64, 1963.
Concert poster
Photo Max Mathys
© Armin Hofmann



Kōichi Saitō
Ongakuza / Soap Bubbles Floated,
They Floated into Outer Space, 1989.
Film poster



As powerful, expressive, beautiful, and versatile as they have the potential to be, left to their own devices hands can get a bit restless, drift around, feel a little lost. But give them a purpose – gripping, punching, pointing, caressing, adding weight to an argument – and they instantly come into their own. Three, more or less, simultaneous design events – two exhibitions, the publication of a new book – all related – invite us to take a closer look at hands.

In Michaelangelo’s ubiquitous painting The Creation of Adam (c 1512), God thrusts out his hand, boldly pushing forward a single finger to touch lonely and anxious-looking Adam’s rather limp one. The entire message behind the picture is in the interplay of those two hands – something any good poster designer instinctively understands. Even these Michaelangelo hands, however, would remain impotent as a poster image until set to work with type, plus perhaps a few additional visual props, to communicate whatever the commission demands. Handzeichen / Hand Signs, the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s forthcoming exhibition brings together both diverse and similar examples – political, commercial, arts-related, and social – of international poster design, all incorporating the hand, each utilising the hand’s symbolic strength for maximum impact, to present a brief cultural history of how it has been used as a design element to express a wide variety of meaningful messages. Lars Müller PublishersPoster Collection 27: Die Hand /The Hand, the latest in this well-designed, high quality and apparently limitless series, is published to coincide with this exhibition and features examples from the Museum’s vast archive.

Climbing grips
Photo F X Jaggy + U Romito



Konstantin Datz, Braille Cube,
Rubik’s Cube for the Blind, 2010
© Konstantin Datz



Watchmaker’s tools, 1990s
Photo F X Jaggy + U Romito



Designed by nature to assist early man in building a life for himself, used to scrape, smash, gather and kill, sometimes to draw and paint and carve, over a relatively long period human hands became adept at making tools to work with, at building and farming, and later skilled in the art of writing. Up until quite recently, it must be said, in the developed world, hands led an interesting sort of existence. But then along came 21st century technology…

Albeit playing the role of the hand tool that thousands of man-made objects throughout history have before it, the new Apple wireless keyboard – now reduced to about about two-thirds of the length of the older versions – still has actual keys that you can push down to type letters that instantly appear in your on-screen electronic document, but only very a light touch is required from the user. The myriad of touch-screen devices, including smartphones, hole-in-the-wall cash machines, interactive maps, gallery guides that have become an integral part of our daily lives exemplify same reductive story. Here, the ‘key’ your finger reaches for may resemble the 3D analogue version you’re familiar with, but it’s completely flat, devoid of form and texture, reduced to an electronically-generated image behind a shiny glass screen. The featherlight touch of a fingertip tapped gently upon it is enough to transport you anywhere you want to go on your digital journey. And, afterwards, if your phone isn’t already taking up all the space, you can slip your redundant hands back into your pockets. With a variety of real objects from the area of contemporary product design, to really touch, really feel, and to really do things with, Museum für Gestaltung’s Bitte berühren! / Please touch! exhibition, offers a helping hand to hands that are suffering from their ever-diminishing role in our rapidly-changing, technology-dominated society.

All images courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich and Lars Müller Publishers.
All image content from the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich collections


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you.

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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