28.02.2012 carla duschka


Great news for fans of Graphics Without Computers! Atelierul de Grafică is pleased to announce the latest - and most special - work in the series, Iron Curtain Graphics, published by Gestalten, a project it was an honour to collaborate on!
Iron Curtain Graphics. Eastern European Design created without computers is a different book, with a different approach, a different selection of images and a structure that developed out of the research carried out for the two GF books. Most this new book is made up of previously unpublished material, all impeccably printed and in a new format. With the help of contributors from other former communist countries, we managed to produce a spectacular volume that provides a glimpse of the impressive graphic production that visually came to define the Iron Curtain period.
It’s a comprehensive and colourful book that offers a new perspective on a difficult and dark period of this small corner of the world, something it does for the benefit of far wider public, given its worldwide distribution.
Those of you familiar with this publisher can probably already imagine the kind of book we’re talking about; for the rest of you, we can only incite your curiosity and interest by pointing you in the direction of Gestalten - developing content for aficionados of cutting-edge visual culture worldwide.


Gestalten describes the book as follows: Iron Curtain Graphics presents a selection of handmade graphic design, illustration, and typography from the Communist era that is startlingly innovative and colourful – and a unique inspiration for current cutting-edge work that takes its visual cues from past design ideas, concepts, and techniques rather than the latest computer-driven technology.
The chapters Propaganda, Labour safety, Culture & Entertainment, and Education & Science feature posters and signs as well as book and magazine covers that have not lost any of their visual impact today. The examples are a testament to how creative and experimental designers could be despite (or exactly because of) being bound by strict rules established by the state.



The foreword to the book is by Angelo Mitchievici, an excellent text, as can be seen from this short fragment: Like the image, the voice of propaganda invokes moral clarity by means of precise, simple, primary school textbook phrases. The fixed smiles, moral invocation, fabricated humanism, and cosmeticized optimism serve emphatically to transform reality into a monument and gesture into ritual. In the secularized world of the communist paradise, the worker was the god called upon to unleash creative energies and to eradicate, by his own example, the residues of the old bourgeois regime. An emblematic expression of proletarian titanism, the worker is depicted against Constructivism backdrops, resized to the scale of superior man. Produced in the party’s ideological furnaces and by “engineers of the soul,” this new man, a man/machine, inhabits a world of heavy machinery, which, like a medieval knight, he incorporates into his battle gear. The symbolic gesture becomes his signature: the palm turned into a fist, the fist gripping the red flag, the hammer or the sickle, the handshake to agree ideological commitments. This prototype emanates the brute force and heavy tools he uses.
[…] These aesthetic devices are not devoid of refinement, the severity of the line does not preclude stylization  and a technical drawing approach results in a distinct expression of the artistic gesture. What initially constituted the back-ground – namely, the artistic dimension – takes center stage one propaganda message has dissolved into a insignificant and useless sign that no longer inspires adherence.



So you see, dear friends of Graphicfront, your support and encouragement has been rewarded in a different way... We hope it brings you as much pleasure as it did to us!

More on the book here
The book can be ordered online here and will soon also be available at Cărtureşti.




carla duschkaattended the graphic arts department at the University of Arts Bucharest and studied book design at the Weissensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. She works as a graphic designer at Atelierul de grafica Bucharest and is assistant lecturer at theUniversity of Arts. CD is co-founder of the GF project.
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cosmin manolache

29.02.2012 la 10:46

Ati trecut granita la nemti, carevasazica! Braaaavo! Si textul lui Angelo e bun.

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