New Exhibition by UQAM Centre de design and VOX Combines Art and Typography

ART + TYPO, an exhibition developed by Angela Grauerholz and Robert Fones, showcases works by artists who use typography in unique ways.

Klaus Scherübel, Reconsidering Jack Torrance’s All Work and No Play, 2006-2008. Exhibition view, Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz, Autriche, 2016. Photo credit: M.K.

The UQAM Centre de design and VOX centre de l’image contemporaine have partnered to present ART + TYPO, an exhibition developed by Angela Grauerholz and Robert Fones who share an interest in the history of typography, innovative experiments, art, and design.

ART + TYPO presents works by fifteen artists and includes six at the Centre de design who use typography in innovative ways. The exhibition highlights art and typography, two disciplines which are rarely addressed together.

While the exhibition crosses disciplines, it focuses on typography as a formal and expressive art form, driven by research and an engagement with language, materiality, and conceptual forms.

Robert Fones, Tive/Tate/Tile, 1997. Casein on wood, plywood shelf, 97,15 × 91,44 × 30,48 cm. Photo credit: Peter MacCallum

At the beginning of the 20th century, typographic characters began to be used in art when Picasso and Braque introduced letters into their paintings, by using industrially manufactured metal stencils.

Additionally, typography has been an essential element in the artwork of graphic design artists and writers associated with futurism, including the Dada movement and Russian Constructivism.

In the 1950s and 1960s, pop art as well as the conceptual art movement, began a new resurgence of typography in art, and was integrated in advertising, signage, and political, literary, and philosophical texts.

While ART + TYPO focuses on art that incorporates the form of typography, some of the works in the exhibition do not fall into this category. This contradiction aims to reflect “the living nature of typographic forms, which is underpinned by their many variations.”

The Centre de design and VOX are also presenting various historical precedents in the form of printed books and an extensive documentation. The curators have also included their own work in the exhibition as well as work from their private collections.

Cree artist Joi T. Arcand contributes to the exhibition with the work ᐁᑳᐏᔭ ᐋᑲᔮᓯᒧ Don’t Speak English. This exhibition incorporates vinyl lettering applied to the staircase of UQAM’s Design pavilion, as well as a neon sign installed at VOX. Both of these feature Cree syllabic characters and represent an important statement about languages, especially indigenous language.

Joi T. Arcand, êkawiya âkayâsîmo / Don’t Speak English, 2017. Metallic vinyl, on-site installation at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Photo credit: Scott Benesiinaabandan

Other artists featured in the exhibition include visual artist Robert Fones, who has been working with letterforms of typography throughout his career and Angela Grauerholz, who appropriates examples of characters found in a catalogue published by the Imprimerie nationale de France.

Additionally, it features German graphic designer Anette Lenz who lives and works in Paris, graphic designer Arnaud Maggs and artist and editor Klaus Scherübel, who layers multiple modern and modernist paradigms.

Anette Lenz, Images taken from the interactive installation Constellation Voyelles n°1, 2024. Photo credit: Anette Lenz

ART + TYPO at VOX centre de l’image contemporaine will be open from February 23 to June 22, 2024.

Technical sheet
Dates: From February 22 to April 14 2024
Opening night: Wednesday, February 21 at 6 p.m.
Curators: Angela Grauerholz and Robert Fones
UQAM Centre de design
1440, Sanguinet Street
Berri-UQAM station