2020 has already been branded the new annus horribilis and will certainly go down in the history of humankind
as the year the SARS-COV2 pandemic was unleashed.
This global drama hit the world’s information systems almost simultaneously, dominating the press to the extent that it often seemed that all other “news” had
But the popular uprisings in Belarus, Hong Kong and Thailand, the events in Lebanon, the Black Lives Matter movement, Brexit, the abortion rights protests in Poland, the huge bushfires in Australia, the development of ecological activism and of course the American presidential elections, amongst others, shattered our sense
of stupefaction and forced themselves onto the
world media stage…
In France, 2020 was also the year after the “yellow jackets”, with demonstrations against pension reforms and the Global Security Bill, as well as the year that new forms of feminist expression emerged in the wake of the #Metoo movement.
The «2020, Graphic Design’s Crazy Year» exhibition is a classic retrospective, focusing on this particular area of design.
It provides a panorama that embraces the eclectic nature of graphic design, extending its scope to include many forms, both classic (posters, books, frescoes, pictograms, typographical messages) and new (animations and the dynamic ad overlays formatted by the social networks…), with no desire to apply any hierarchy.
Its goal is to clarify the context of these «visual statements», national issues that echo around the world, the reference to visual languages, and the use
of conventional or innovative rhetorical devices.
The COVID crisis led to the massive production of health and prevention messages. So, in this worldwide plethora
of visual communications, can we identify old, new, global or specific forms of graphics for the public good?
And when it comes to supporting a cause, and the directive shifts on the ideological plane, we ask graphic designers from many different walks of life what led to their attachment to the values they are announcing or denouncing, what motivated their commitment, how they embrace their social and political responsibilities, while remembering that 2020 was also the fiftieth anniversary
of the creation of the Grapus Collective.
How is the notion of politically motivated graphic design applied in the age of digital globalisation and social networks?
Can we anticipate and understand the media frenzy that certain images have occasionally unleashed?
Will we discover logical connections, recurring mechanisms in the reception and massive appropriation
of an image which then becomes cult, iconic or a meme?
«2020, Graphic Design’s Crazy Year»?
No doubt, if we admit that the unfolding of the COVID crisis generated a kind of media archetype, a doubly viral frenzy led by the omnipresent social networks, and probably a new stage in the globalisation of image making, affecting all subjects and forms…