This year’s ‘It’s All Graphic’ event turns a spotlight on how graphic design is collected, curated and displayed in a range of museum and more-than-museum settings. From their perspectives as curators, designers and directors at institutions ranging from the national to the hyper-local. The invited panel members will explain the practices of acquiring, interpreting and framing graphic design. In discussion with moderators Roosje Klap and Alice Twemlow, the speakers will share their individual ambitions and achievements in reaching new audiences, diversifying the canon, as well as their doubts and dilemmas concerning graphic design’s cultural significance and its tense relationship with the white cube.
About the speakers:
Elisabeth Klement is a graphic designer and co-founder (with Pieter Verbeke) of San Serriffe, a tiny and much-loved art and design bookstore located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Together with Laura Pappa, she organised Asterisk Summer School in her home-country, Estonia. Klement also teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and edits and designs the publication series Apparition of the Ampersand, which aims to define the extended field of the practice of graphic design through interviews and writings by practitioners working at the fringes of the discipline. Klement will discuss how San Serriffe functions as a venue for exhibitions and events but also how, even as a bookstore, in its careful curation of the best and most experimental examples of contemporary book publishing, it performs as a significant exhibition space for graphic design.
Mariina Bakic is head of the department of Creation and Transmission at Le Signe, National Centre for Graphic Design, based in Chaumont, France. Le Signe has a significant collection of posters, and with a biennial festival (currently on until 21 October 2023), and a programme of exhibitions, workshops, training courses and residencies, the centre aims to contribute to the recognition, the development and outreach of graphic design in France and in the world. Bakic’s background is in digital and interactive arts. After earning her doctorate and several years of teaching in the department of New Media of University Paris VIII, she got involved in the organization of graphic design events, in particular, Une Saison Graphique, the annual graphic design festival in Le Havre that she led before joining Le Signe in 2017. Bakic will discuss how the museum negotiates its multiple roles as the collector and preserver of graphic design’s heritage as well as the stimulator of contemporary design practice.
Maureen Mooren is a designer with extensive experience working with cultural institutions and a professor at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. Mooren has been responsible for the visual appearance of Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, since October 2013. Until 2022, the identity consisted of a continuously expanding variety of designs by different designers anchored by the addition of a simple label. Het Nieuwe Instituut represents architecture, design and digital culture, and while exhibitions devoted to graphic design are still rare at this institute, her approach to identity design, where a range of independent graphic designers have been selected to contribute designs to a rotating visual identity, performs as its own alternative exhibition format. In 2023 Mooren oversaw a redesign of the identity created by a design team consisting of Jacob Hoving, Cengiz Mengüç, Vera van der Seyp and Maud Vervenne. Mooren will discuss the process of creating this innovative house style and the extent to which the roles of curator and designer merge in such an initiative.
Peter Biľak is the founder of Typotheque, co-founder of Fontstand, a new way of discovering and licensing fonts, as well as TPTQ Arabic, a company focused on the development of modern and authentic Arabic typefaces. Bil’ak is known for his meticulous type design and typography and deep engagement with content and language. He co-founded Dot Dot Dot, a seminal art and culture magazine, and also Works That Work, a magazine of unexpected creativity that not only broadened the definition of design but also introduced new models of operation and distribution for independent periodicals. His long standing collaboration with the choreographer and fellow Slovakian, Lukáš Timulak, led to starting Make Move Think, a foundation for interdisciplinary artistic collaboration. Biľak will reflect on the experiences of being a curator, designer and sometimes subject of graphic design exhibitions, with particular reference to an exhibition and catalogue essay where he problematised graphic design’s relationship to the White Cube.