Terror and illusion (Volkskrant 14-03-09)
I visited Amsterdam’s public library last week and viewed the Gorilla poster exhibition, on show until the end of June.
Gorilla is a visual column that comments on current affairs through words and images, published every week in various local newspapers. It is a designers’ collective consisting of graphic design studios De Designpolitie and Lesley Moore, and graphic designer Herman van Bostelen.
In the newspaper the graphics appear as a small business-card size images, while in the exhibition they are blown to full size posters and arranged on brown cardboard boxes stacked in piles.
Not sure why the posters are exhibited this way, does it make it feel more “street”? I also found it a bit odd that some posters are exhibited two or three times in different sizes, while others are not shown at all (or perhaps I just missed them, since the organization of the exhibition doesn’t lead you in any specific way).
I know that as a graphic designer I should be enthusiastic about this type of project, but although I did like some of the posters (a few showcased on this post), I find this type of graphic work too blunt, too obvious. Yes, it’s political and social and very important, but a bit flat. One could argue that this type of visual comment is a perfect fit for a weekly fast-paced column, that it should speak a message loud and clear, but I find that most of the posters in the exhibition are neither thought provoking, nor moving.
I really wanted to love this exhibition (how often do I see an exhibition dedicated to graphic design?), but I just felt I was looking at copy-write slogans, and I didn’t find the aesthetics of the work very appealing. The posters’ visual style is very diverse, probably due to having been made by different designers, and although the message is clearly the most important element here, I wish it could also be more visually striking.
Left: Paint it Black (Volkskrant 11-05-08), right: Drug Policy (Volkskrant 11-21-08)