An exhibition in the Department
Until 28 April 2018
Letterpress printing has never lacked dedicated practitioners since its decline as a mainstream commercial printing process. But its conspicuous use in recent years – in the UK, Germany, Italy, USA, Brazil and many other places – is evidence of a resurgent interest in letterpress as an engine for research, design and making. Driving this interest is in part a renewed valuation of the materiality of print as a counterweight to the disembodied digital form of much present-day typography and graphic communication.
Recent letterpress practices are renovating and expanding the process. This exhibition presents some of these practices, alongside complementary examples from the 1980s and 90s. They involve the exploration of print effects, the visual formation of language, the reconstruction or reinvention of historical technique, the reconfiguration of letterpress in ‘post-digital’ form, and more. Taken together, the work on display suggests that letterpress printing continues to offer many possibilities for scholarly, speculative and commercial endeavour.
Practices on display:
- Reconstruction of historical typography: Gutenberg, Fust & Schoeffer
(Martin Andrews, Alan May)
- Impressions of historical types: Louis John Pouchée
(Ian Mortimer, James Mosley)
- Re-invention of historical technique: compound-plate printing
- Independent workshop practice
(Alan Kitching / The Typography Workshop, London; p98a, Berlin)
- Independent book production
(Juliet Shen, Bram de Does, Giulia Garbin and Stefano Riba)
- Post-digital printing
(p98a, Berlin; Suhrkamp Letterpress)
- Structure in type and language
- Variation in series
- Colour overprinting, split-fount printing
(Charan Aruja, Katy Mawhood, Susann Vatnedal)
Thanks to those individuals who have kindly loaned items for exhibition: Simon Esterson, Gerry Leonidas, Pierre Pané-Farré, Erik Spiekermann, Ferdinand Ulrich, Susann Vatnedal.
Display and texts by Eric Kindel.