Chapter 21 is where graphic designers get real inventive and start using the image as the main talking point rather than the words that the images had before accompanied. The images expressed feelings, ideas, and abstract concepts. As this technique developed, artists began to experiment with their own personal variations to avoid the staleness of a state style or a traditional style. One of these people is Waldemar Swierzy.
Swierzy has a painterly style that is able to express emotion and emphasis, similar to the work of Expressionists. Swierzy put a lot of work into his art, making many versions and pre-study sketches to make sure that the final image was conveying exactly what he wanted it to. An example from the book that I particularly like is image 21-11, a poster for Ulica Hanby. I like the way that her face vanishes below her eyes and we see her bright red lips pop against the dark background and then carry down into the text of the poster. I also like how the simple palette of colors is repeated throughout the picture, and that each color isn’t just in one area.
Another set of images that I found really interesting were the photographs 21-59 through 21-62. Yes- these are actually photographs! Robert Massin would deconstruct photos taken by his collaborator Henry Cohen and reassemble them along with a variety of typefaces to visually display Eugene Ionesco’s play, La cantatrice chauve.
The character placements and names are represented by the high-contrast photographs. Additionally, each character is assigned his or her own typeface, in which all of their lines are written, in varying font sizes according to the volume in which they should be recited. When all of this had been assembled as desired, another picture would be taken to create the final page. I love the look of these photos and how they were able to create such a visual energy and contrast, as well as be made with great simplicity, yet so well define the characters costume and look. It looks as if these charasters are taken out of the faded negatives of a period drama, yet this work was made in 1964!
This body of work really astounds me when I think of all the work that went into this and the techniques that were used- how innovative and different they were and yet how well they paid off and made a dramatic statement that works! It is inspiring to see.
Finally, I want to talk about Anthon Beeke. He was a member of Fluxus, a reallyinteresting group of Neo-Dadaists in the 1960’s who performed “happenings”, among other things, which were similar to today’s flash mobs, but were stranger in content. These events weren’t advertised as a performance art but instead were meant to just “happen” with all the members of the happening meeting up and performing a set of actions, and whoever saw or didn’t see, that was how it was. It also questioned the say-so of the fine art world ans what could be called art. One group met up to lick jelly off the hood of a car before it was set on fire. Would an onlooker consider this art? There were other forms in which Fluxus art occurred, but the feeling and the strangeness as one thinks deeper into the events occurring and how onlookers wonder why, with some perturbation and bemusement, and with no definite answer given, is the essence of the reaction these Fluxus works were designed to evoke.
Anthon Beeke’s two posters for theatrical productions on page 461, Images 22-38 and 22-39, were created in the same provocateur mindset. They are strange and the more one looks in to them, the more questions one has. One appears to be a flower with a face for a center, but further inspection reveals a bloody, staring face surrounded by tattered seagull feathers.The other is a skull that stares with white pupils through a red bar mask. Its teeth are made into the name of the play. These two designs create questions for the viewer which they might go see the play to have answered. There can be a whole psychological discussion about how each of these posters represents their respective production and why. They draw the viewer in on an intellectual level.