Le Fonds international d’objets imprimés de petite taille (International Collection of Small-Scale Printed Objects) looks at contemporary graphic design through the intelligence of the forms and economic and technical knowhow of printed objects that are modest in their format or size.
The attention usually paid to graphic design has long focused on the discipline’s most salient object, the poster. The formal kinship of that support with painted pictures, and the tradition of biennials and art competitions have favored spectacular dimensions for posters to the detriment of other graphic objects (invitations, flyers, ephemera, bookmarks, business or calling cards…). Half library half archive, Le Fonds international d’objets imprimés de petite taille is displayed on modular shelving system adapted to the conditions of Kunsthal Gent. Each object is shown (it can be handled as well) on a storage case displaying a notice that allows viewers to contextualize the subject and discover the intelligence of a form designed to echo the content. Technical or economic constraints can strongly influence a project in some cases. They lead designers to rethink the object and imagine different logics of how the object reaches the public by experimenting with other interstices, other fissures, where graphic design can creatively develop.
The collection, made up of several hundred international projects, is meant to evolve and grow as it travels. It will eventually be conserved at a later venue, one that is also capable of making the objects freely available to the public.
The present selection features new or little known productions by a range of international designers that includes ÅBÄKE (UK), Ines Cox (B), Ed Fella (US), GRAPUS (FR), Karel Martens (NL), Mevis & Van Deursen (NL), M/M (FR), Fanette Mellier (FR), Meeusontwerpt (NL), Jonathan Monk (GER), Karl Nawrot (FR), Adrian Piper (US), Mathias Schweizer (CH), Vier5 (GER), and Yonatan Vinitsky (PL). The exhibition thus offers a different history of contemporary graphic design, one where the quality of the object on display is not (solely) defined by a format and a support, but rather by the intelligence of the form, the execution, the materials, and the experimentation that eventually gave birth to it. A history in which the apparent modesty and limited size of the object seem to top the bill.
Åbäke (UK), Xavier Antin (FR), Antoine + Manuel (FR), Atelier de création graphique (FR), André Baldinger (FR), Jean Marc Ballée (FR), Alexandru Balgiu et Olivier Lebrun (FR), Marine Barbet, Garance Bastat-Popower, Florent Macrez et Adrien Tison (FR), Bizzarri-Rodriguez (FR), Boekie Woekie (NL), Jean-Philippe Bretin (FR), Building Paris (FR), Bureau Collective (SZ), Benoît Cannaferina (FR), Christophe Cherix (SZ), Claude Closky (FR), Le Club des chevreuils (FR), Ines Cox et Lauren Grusenmeyer (BE), Studio Veronica Ditting (UK), De Designpolitie (NL), DeStihl (FR), Marietta Eugster (SZ), Europa (UK), Experimental Jet Set (NL), Ed Fella (US), Ryan Gander (UK), Christophe Gaudard (FR), Thomas Geiger (AT), Gilbert et George (UK), Grapus (FR), Oliver Griffin (UK), Studio Joost Grootens (NL), Anna Haas (SZ), Rachel Harrison (US), Helmo (FR), Will Holder (UK), Claire Huss (FR), Jan en Randoald (BE), Mikk Jõgi, Zuzana Kostelanská et Laslo Strong (NL), Philippe Karrer (SZ), John Kelsey (US), Joris Kritis (BE), Anna Kulachek (RS), James Langdon (UK), Pierre Leguillon et Clovis Durand (FR), Florence Loewy (FR), M/M (Paris) (FR), Studio Jurgen Maelfeyt (BE), Karel Martens (NL), Maximage (SZ), Meeusontwerpt (NL), Fanette Mellier (FR), Mevis & van Deursen (NL), Aleksandra Mir (SE), Adeline Mollard et Clemens Piontek (SZ), Jonathan Monk (UK), Fraser Muggeridge Studio (UK), Karl Nawrot (FR), Neo Neo (SZ), Richard Niessen et Esther de Vries (NL), Studio NOI (SZ), officeabc (FR), OK-RM (UK), Gérard Paris-Clavel (FR), Julie Peeters (BE), Radim Peško (CZ), Adrian Piper (US), Marie Proyart et Jean-Marie Courant (FR), Manuel Raeder (DE), Etienne Robial (FR), Grégoire Romanet (FR), Guillaume Sbalchiero et Eliott Grunewald (FR), Marius Schwarz (DE), Mathias Schweizer (SZ), Syndicat (FR), Spassky Fischer (FR), SpMillot (FR), Coline Sunier et Charles Mazé (FR), Team TCHM (NL), Frédéric Teschner (FR), Toner toner (FR), Pierre Vanni (FR), Vier5 (DE), Yonatan Vinitsky (PL), Kelley Walker (US), Charlie Waterhouse et Clive Paul Russell (UK) and others to come
About the curators
François Havegeer and Sacha Léopold, born respectively in 1987 and 1986, have worked in Paris under the name “Syndicat” since 2012. These two graphic designers founded the publishing house Empire in 2016. They republished the NASA Graphics Standards Manual (2016) and collaborated with artist Yonatan Vinitsky on The middle of the world book (2017). Since October 2017, they have published the bimonthly magazine Faire, a critical and analytical review of the various forms and activities related to graphic arts. They also curated exhibitions like Monozukuri: formes d’impression (2012), Monozukuri: façons et surfaces d’impression (2013), Grapus, exposition sur un collectif de graphistes (Esad Amiens, 2015) and participated in exhibitions like Magiciens de la terre, retour sur une exposition légendaire (Centre Pompidou, 2014), L’usage des formes (Palais de Tokyo, 2015) and Ne te retourne pas (MABA, 2016).
Quentin Schmerber is a graphic designer and typographer born in 1990. After obtaining a first diploma in graphic communication at the École supérieure des arts décoratifs of Strasbourg, he studied graphic design and typeface design (post-graduation in “Typography & language”) at the École supérieure d’art et de design of Amiens. He left the school with the Temeraire, a typo inspired from the vernacular English letter rewarded in several contests like the Club des Directeurs Artistiques and the Typeface Publishing Incentive Program. Regular contributor of the typographic news website Pointypo, he has collaborated with several French studios (Building Paris, Syndicat, Pilote…). He also directed the French translation of the NASA and IBM Graphics Standards Manual republished by Empire along with the documentary Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production by Briar Levit (2017). He has been working with the team of Production Type since 2016.
About the exhibition designer
Born in 1990, Pernelle Poyet lives and works in Paris. After two years in “classes préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles” and at the École normale supérieure Paris – Saclay of Cachan in design specialty, she graduated cum laude from ENSCI – Les Ateliers in 2015. At the 2016 Design Parade of the Villa Noailles, she received the jury award under the direction of Max Lamb as well as the audience award for her project Alphabet. With these awards, she was also granted a residency at the Centre international de recherche sur le verre et les arts plastiques (CIRVA) in Marseille and at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres – Cité de la céramique. Since 2016, she has designed objects as well as exhibitions as a freelance designer, in the continuation of the work she started with Alphabet, yet with a special focus on the question of language, matter-color, the various steps of a design project – from 2D drawing to volume – and the renewal of handmade traditional production techniques.