Saturday, October 29, 2016

your turn #6

Magritte, The Threatened Assassin, 1926

we had to go very fast, to cover thirty years of 20th century avant-garde:

deutscher werkbund, blue rider, expressionism (woodcut, film, graphic design, architecture), neue sachlichkeit circa 1926 (grosz, dix), cubism (analytic, synthetic, collage!), dada (political, metaphysic), futurism (music, graphic design, architecture), die neue typographie (tschichold), russian futurism, malevich geometric abstraction, russian constructivism (film, theater, architecture), rodchenko, lissitsky. BAUHAUS (pottery, architecture, textiles, theater, furniture, etc), surrealism (film, graphic design, photo).

keep in mid graphic design,

go ahead.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

surrealist design techniques





Some interesting developments within Surrealist painting are: 1- Frottage (rubbing), developed by Ernst and described by him in Beyond Painting, (1948).

2- Grattage (scraping), also a discovery of Ernst, which transferred frottage to to oil painting. In decalcomania (transferring) the image was obtained by laying arbitrary patches of color on a piece of paper. A clean piece was then rubbed gently on top. When separated, strange grottos, exotic vegetation and underwater scenes suggested themselves to the imagination. A picture was made by chance. 

3- Fumage (smoking) was a technique of automatism invented by Wolfgang Paalen (1907-1959) in the late 1930s. Here the chance imagery was provoked. by moving a candle under a sheet of paper; and random areas of soot would develop from which the mind could form images. All these techniques depend for their application upon the hallucinatory mind of the artist.

surreal furniture

lila jang, chair 

lila jang, sofa


salvador dalí, sheep furniture

salvador dalí, mae west room installation

piri leibovich, chair

chao hui, chair

isamo noguchi, side table

forward surrealism: surreal graffiti, street art, photography

surreal graffiti by phlegm

same as above

davide luciano & claudia ficca

street art, eduardo relero, trompe l'oeil

surrealism (interior design now)

maison moschino, milan, 2010

 same as above

same as above

Magritte, the graphic designer of surrealism




Magritte is the graphic designer of surrealism. Here a link to his paintings.

a certain graphic vocabulary & design became associated with modernity


Manifeste du Surréalism



in france, by the mid 1920's dada had lost its momentum. simultaneously, many of the french dadaists joined the ranks of the surrealists led by André Breton who in 1924, published the Surrealist Manifesto.

what are the main points here?

design the unconscious!

1- dreams,
2- work your traumas as sublimation,
3- life as poesis,
4- reality is never what it seems,
5- tanatos is always looking from the corners!


sorry, forgot about Jan Tschichold






Tschichold's background is in calligraphy, which sets him apart from almost all other noted typographers of the time (since many of them were architects). he became a leading advocate of modernist design: first with an influential 1925 magazine supplement; then a 1927 personal exhibition; then with his most noted work Die neue Typographie

1- tschichold condemned all fonts except sans-serif (called 'Grotesk' in Germany). 
2- non-centered design (e.g., on title pages.
3- standardized paper sizes for all printed matter, and
4- effective use of different sizes and weights of type in order to quickly and easily convey information.

Bauhaus Manifesto: There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman.

Art is not a "profession." There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. In rare moments of inspiration, moments beyond the control of his will, the grace of heaven may cause his work to blossom into art. But proficiency in his craft is essential to every artist. Therein lies a source of creative imagination.  Let us create a new guild of craftsmen, without the class distinctions which raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist. Together let us conceive and create the new building of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will rise one day toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.

BAUHAUS (the designer's angle)

Walter Gropius, Dessau Bauhaus Building, (1926)

clean lines, 
air and sun,
modern aesthetics,
technology rules,
new materials: glass, steel, concrete,

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square (1965)

the square,
colors as symbols,
clean and crisp,


László Moholy-Nagy, Photogram (1926)

photography as technology,
black & white is a color,

Hannes Meyer, Konstruktion ca. 1927

Meyer's teaching manifesto applied to Bau: 1. sex life, 2. sleeping habits, 3. pets, 4. gardening, 5. personal hygiene, 6. weather protection, 7. hygiene in the home, 8. car maintenance, 9. cooking, 10. heating, 11. exposure to the sun, 12. services - these are the only motives when building a house. We examine the daily routine of everyone who lives in the house and this gives us the functional diagram - the functional diagram and the economic programme are the determining principles of the building project.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona chair (1929)

comfort (you are royal/modern)
curves can be sexy (use with caution)
modern can be expensive and affordable

Paul Klee, Red Balloon (ca. 1919)
think like a child,
color like a child,
reality is magic,

Wassily Kansdinsky, Composition VIII (1923)

art and music are best friends,
geometry can dance!

Walter Gropius, Sugar Bowl (1969)

this is late gropius,
modern tao,
feminine wins!

Lyonel Feininger, OberWeimar, (1921)

Marcel Breuer, Wassily Chair (1927)

tubular comfort,
modern = steel + leather
furniture = sculpture

El Lissitzky, from the series Proun (early 1920's)
I. K. Bonset, typefaces, early 1920's

typeface for the machine age,
pre/digital premonition,
letters sound! blikken trommel = tin drum

Karl-Peter Röhl,Construction (1925)

Erich Dieckmann, Model Furnishings (1928)

 Xanti Schawinsky, Circus Stage Project (early 1920's)

Johannes Itten, Copper foil panel and stained glass (1916)
modern spirituality,
esoteric is cool,
make up your catalog of symbols,

Herbert Bayer, Lonely Metropolitan (1932)

photomontage as propaganda,
be nasty with symbols,

geometric abstraction was adopted as a sign of functionality

ed lissitzky, the isms of art, 1924

Advertising art shows simplified social scenes where things are shown as they should be, the homes shown are stereotyped, and the viewer's attention is directed to the foreground where the product is. Things are photographed or drawn to seem more real than life. The rain is rainier, the beach beachier than it would be in reality. Advertisements tend to flatten the visual space and be self-contained, abstracted


Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Love Your Neighbor, (1925). 

Jealousy, (1927).

What's unique to Moholy-Nagy is his inventiveness. Drawing on collage, photo, and a minimalist use of geometry,  Moholy-Nagy creates a personal vocabulary which is modern, almost Futuristic, pointing to a way of feeling of modernity.

dada: automatic drawing

Automatic drawing by Andre Masson

As I said in class, l'ecriture automatique is a form of graphic design. Call it unconscious design. The idea is to design the spontaneous, the unthought, leave it to the line to do the talking. That -at least- was the premise of the Surrealists.

Wolfgang Paalen, ca 1950

From the 1916 FORM MAGAZINE.