Revue Faire n°13: A curatorial work: Graphic Design in the White Cube by Peter Bil’ak. Author: Lise Brosseau
29,5 x 21 cm, ills colour & bw, softcover, English/French
Published by Editions Empire
In 2006, on the occasion of the 22nd Biennial of Brno, Peter Bil’ak proposed to 20 Graphic Designers and collectives to design posters for the exhibition that they were going to participate in: Graphic Design in the White Cube. These posters could then function on two levels: as the content for an exhibition (the newly created collection would be presented, accompanied by the sketches that led to the creation of the different posters) and in the streets of the city where the posters would be hung in order to promote and provide information about the event.
With this invitation, the designer/curator wished to respond to the idea that the exhibition space isolates Graphic Design creations from the real world, from context (commercial, cultural, historic) and from the function that is necessary for reading and understanding them. He thus chose to make the conditions of the exhibition space (in this case the Moravian Gallery) the context for the creations, and to exhibit the work of Graphic Designers rather than objects.
This strategy, which doesn’t hide its self-referential nature, was accompanied by an essay, written by Bil’ak himself; a text that continues to be regularly cited when the question of approaching the exhibition of Graphic Design as a subject arises. Our study will engage the analysis of this latter in order to question the characteristically theoretical approach of this project. It will attempt to place the reflexive, discursive approach and the editorial part of this curatorial proposition within the recent history of Graphic Design. It will also try to show how the positions taken will lead to a form of redefinition of Graphic Design.