The Surface of Design
Taking its name from a seminal essay by the critic and philosopher Jacques Rancière, this exhibition considers the question of surface in relation to contemporary graphic design. Beyond divisions between the poetic and the professional, or the modern and postmodern, “the flat surface,” Rancière reminds us, “was always a surface of communication where words and images slid into one another.” Curated by designer and writer Mark Owens, The Surface of Design thus brings together select historical objects and work by contemporary artists and designers to probe a number of interrelated material practices, including wallpaper, supergraphics, and décor, as well as 3D printing and design for the surface of the computer screen. Between these various poles lies the printed page, and the exhibition will also consider how recent technological developments cast light on the notion of “the public” in publication. Taken together, the works in The Surface of Design shed new light on graphic design as “a surface of communication” and ask what new forms of “communal life” might therefore be possible.