The De Stijl movement in the Netherlands was an extremely abstract and minimal aesthetic which used reduced basic forms, geometric shapes using vertical and horizontal lines. It advocated for the use of only the primary colors, black and white, and concentrated on mixing the form and function.
Above Chiangmai. Brian Eno. 1980.
The sounds of Brian Eno, musician & producer, who specializes in very minimal ambient tunes I believe embodies that idea of De Stijl which is taking the very minimal and creating entire forms, just as we see with the work Theo van Doesburg,
Theo van Doesburg. Counter-Composition in Dissonance 16. (1925).
Eno very similarly to van Doesburg builds an entire composition with the simplistic flows of soft sounds in a very instinctually placed manner.
In the song “Above Chiangmai” Eno begins the track with the very subtle synth ambient sound that is played relatively throughout the entire sound, I imagine this to be the grid of the work in, “Counter Composition V1.” The gentle piano featured in this song acts as the pops up color that appear in in the chosen geometric shape, there is slight staccato to it which I feel is the equivalent to the use of a bright primary color. The song keeps a very steady beat with little to no changes other than the slow fade in and out. It matches the idea of De Stijl just being structured containing reduced forms. In van Doesburg work, you don’t really know where it ends or begins, it just flows from one square to the other which I think Eno’s ambient sounds albums does very well. Towards the end of the song, there are unexpected electronic noises which feels like could possibly mimic of van Doesburg’s choice to have more of a diagonal composition. After analyzing the piece, we can see how the shift to a diagonal axis creates a more dynamic while, matching Eno’s choice of adding a third layer (the unexpected noises) can relate when seemingly in different parts of the art world.
Creative synesthesia is a term used to describe a condition where one physical sensation evokes another with a sense. A good examples of synesthesia is a writer creating an image with there words as if you can almost taste the food they are describing to you, with imagery. Within my blog post i’ll be comparing the visual elements of Hans Poelzigs poster for the film “The Golem” by Paul Wegner to that of the sense of taste. With the influence derived from the colours, line work, and movement throughout this piece this creates a taste similar to that of an onion. This taste is communicated through its use of colour and the use of movement within the text. Paul Wegner’s use of colour leaves that of a bad taste in my mouth something that is quite pungent, like an onion. The piece with its various emotions and elements create slightly different tastes. Like that of the onion it has various different forms that have slightly different tastes to them. The use of the brown in the foreground is what grounds the whole piece leaving an almost sweet, bitter taste in my mouth, like that of a red onion. Whereas the yellow in the background leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth like that of the onion, through its use of an intoxicating colour. The use of movement through the piece resemble that of the onion its curving to one way, like that of the onion. The shell of the onion is being displayed with the melting words and the movement in the linework. Since it creates an almost messy appearance, just like the shells create once they are removed. The words also mesh into the buildings seen in the foreground just as the shells of the onions are since they are intertwined with the onion itself creating a barrer. Paul Wegners “The Golem” poster brings about the sense of taste through its use of strong colour and directional movement thorughout the piece leaving a taste of bitterness but with a hint of sweet just like that of the onion.
The poster above, titled ‘Rural Electrical – Radio, by Lester Bell, is a excellent example of a synesthesia. Synesthesia is a term in which a sense evokes another sense of the human body (Oxford Dictionary). That is clearly effective in the era of new American poster design/ new typography which was derived from the European graphic design (Ekilson, 256). This poster was produced for the “Rural Electrification Administration, a government run body that promoted the use of electricity in the country side,(Ekilson, 257).” This was to promote the use of electricity in the countryside of the United States of America. The poster is very simple and straight forward by using geometric shapes and use of space and the overall harmonization of the piece together. A house is illustrated on a hill top, on the left hand side of the poster while 3 white arrows, from the top right corner, that are narrowing down towards the house. About one fourth of the page Radio is clearly established, in a bold serif font, while ‘Rural Electrification Administration’ is at the very bottom of the page in a sans serif condensed font. This helps the audience to not get confused with the information when interpreting the artwork. It also connected to the average American due to the use of patriotic colours of red, white and blue.
The reason why I find this example of synesthesia is from the downward motion of the arrows that interpret to me as though you can feel the vibrations of the frequency of the radio move to the house. This essentially creates an atmoposhere as though you can almost physically feel and hear the vibrations move past your face towards the house in slow motion, from the position of the viewer. I also interpret as though you can hear the voices, music, or whatever it may be, of the radio in the same sensation of the vibrations and the travel of sound fading away as it moves towards the house. It attracts me to feel that I need to follow that same path, to find where the final destination. It is as though it gives you a glimpse of a secret that you need to follow what it may be.
Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: A New History. 2nd ed., Yale University Press, 2012.
“Synesthesia.” Def.1. OxfordDictionaries.com. Oxford Dictionaries. Web. 27 Mar. 2018.
Swiss style, also known as the International style, is a graphic design style that emerged in Russia, Germany, and the Netherlands in the 1920’s and developed by designers in Switzerland during the 1950’s. In Swiss style, designers use geometric shapes, negative space, grid systems, sans-serif typefaces and typographic alignment to create cleanness, readability, and objectivity images. To this day, the design strategy of Swiss style still influencing architecture, graphic design and many design related fields.
Swiss style purged all the decoration to pursue the beauty of simplicity. But the designers structured the colors, shapes, and typefaces boldly, which makes the artworks vivid and filled with emotion. The simple but powerful design style always bring people more feeling not only on visual but also on other senses.
Just like the Clichés-Offset Schwitter AG poster created by Karl Gerstner in 1964. The strong color and unique design always remind me a song from Diane Birch, Staring At You. The separate circles and squares like the changeless drumbeat in the background of the song. And the circles and squares which linked together make me heard the ups and downs of the music. The different pure colors like the different soundtracks in the music. Karl Gerstner used different colors of the intersections of the shapes, which is the color combine by the color around it (like the intersection color of the black square and violet square is dark blue). These design of colors remind me the changes of key in the music. Finally, the clear and unemotional female voice just like the concise Akzidenz-Grotesk fonts on the poster, with the elusive lyric (like the indispensable texts on the poster.) constitutes the feeling of my auditory sense with this poster.
Franco Grignani’s Alfieri & Lacroix (1960) provides consciousness of the sensation through colour and movement. Through the dynamic ever changing and folding words, the colours of red, blue and white are contrasted to the backdrop of a warm dark violet. The intercrossing of the sleeking, smooth blue and red, create a sense of a rough, carpet like texture. Like patches and tuffs of corse fabric sticking out of sleek steal craved shapes. The stark contrast conflicts my mind with my physical sense of touch. The confrontation feels as though its wrangling between the idea to run away or to fix the situation. The compulsion and craving to cut the rough patches of toughs out of the piece stimulant only the feeling of unsettling perplexity. The warmth of the background composes the only impression of clarity and reconciliation between the sense of touch and individualistic feeling.
The above piece titled ‘Fur Breakfast’ was created by Meret Oppenheim in 1936. This work was widely considered to be a typical Surrealist object. Surrealism grew after World War I out of a dissatisfaction with traditional social values and artistic practices. Artists quickly became interested in how the illogical, unconscious mind could move past the restraints of a rational society. This piece aims to do just that, while also invoking the feeling of synesthesia, which is a condition where one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another. Oppenheim’s object ‘Fur Breakfast’, makes references to the varieties of sensations fur can bring. For example, fur can be delightful to touch, yet repelling to the tongue. With that in mind, a cup and spoon, are made to be put in the mouth, which is why this piece provokes the viewer into imagining what the fur-lined cup might feel and taste like to drink from. This forces one to feel a mixture of sensations.
The De Stijl Movement which means simply “the style”. It embraced an abstract, pared-down aesthetic centred in basic visual elements such as geometric forms and primary colours. In “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, by Mondrian represents the motion of the city. He is using yellow on the lines and using red and blue square on each of the intersections. Different sizes of red and blue squares are randomly placing on the grid. Through using those elements Mondrian wants to create a dynamic rhythm from the city to the painting of “Broadway Boogie Woogie”.
When I look at the painting, I am thinking of the sound of the downtown New York city. The little dot reminds me of the rhythm of the traffic light. The lines reminds me of the the road and the subway map. I am using the sound of the city in New York to represent this painting. When I am looking at the painting and listening to the sound, I can see there is lots of people walking across the street, cars passing by the intersection, people having conversation and people are chasing the bus and trains. For me the painting is creating a “NEY YORK city vibes” through using the colour of yellow, red, blue and light grey to represent the city’s grid, the movement of traffic, blinking electric lights and the sound of the city.
The Art Story”De Stijl Movement, Artists and Major Works”2012,<http://www.theartstory.org movement-de-stijl.htm>
“Broadway Boogie Woogie”,Piet Mondrian-Broadway Boogie Woogie 1942-43,Gallery label from 2011<https://www.moma.org/collection/works/78682>
FreeSound”City Ambiance New York”May 16th, 2016,knufds,<https://freesound.org/people/knufds/sounds/345948/>
Eskilson, Stephen. Graphic Design a New History. Vol. 2. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
Second image is my own.
To preface, my synesthesia does not apply specifically to the International Style piece that I chose, but in it’s composition and construction applies to the style as a whole.
In approaching the way a recipe could reflect a style of graphic design, I felt the process of cooking and assembling the elements of the recipe was arguably as important as the final “taste” of the design. To me, eating is an experience, and the way that a food is assembled affects the way you perceive the food on the palette- for example a recipe containing the same base ingredients and elements when assembled differently will be experienced differently by the consumer. Say a sushi roll neatly wrapped, compared to the same ingredients sprawled over rice- both would taste the same, however it is in the persons interaction that the experience differs.
That being said, the iconic elements of the international style are its geometry, its grid system, its uniformity, and its disassembled or basic elements. Working in a fine dining kitchen, I kept my eye out for the recipes I would cook and assemble and how they could relate to the different movements addressed in this course, and settled on these tarts.
The key to this is both its presentation and its execution. The grid system the presentation follows, the order and neatness of the plate. However the way the tarts are made is equally as important- each element created separately; the shell, the chocolate pastry cream, the whip cream, the candied peanuts. It is in the clean, rigid, and near geometric assembly that these deconstructed elements are placed together that allow it to convey the international style. Each element of the dish exists, visible within its structure of the piece, working as a whole to convey one clear and concise message. To me, this is how the International style would taste.
Synesthesia is the condition where one physical sensation evokes another; it is often described as hearing color or tasting shapes. This piece was designed by Armin Hofmann and was made for the Giselle Ballet/Opera. The piece is Swiss Style/International Typographic Style. The piece evokes a unique movement. The piece is very powerful with the image, the bold type and the black background. The piece evokes a sense a beauty but at the same time a very powerful and dominant feel. The contrast of this piece makes me see the movement of a ballet dancer doing bunch of pliés (ballet term for spin or rotate) one after another. The pliés are very swift and fast, they are so fast you cannot make up the body when looking at it. The pliés are very dominant with the presence but at the same time the movement of the twirl contains a sense of beauty and serenity. I feel this type of movement in the piece because the image of the ballet dancer is graceful. The dominance of the white on background makes the piece also feel very powerful.
Alphonse Mucha is an Art Nouveau artist who was born in Czech then later moved to France, and produced great amounts of paintings, advertisements, illustrations, as well as postcards and other designs. The poster “Spring“ done by Mucha in 1896 is a representative artwork for the French Art Nouveau Movement, by observing the poster, there are a lot of floral elements in the poster, which creates a sense synesthesia for the viewer. The concept of synesthesia is the condition where one physical sensation evokes another, from looking at the poster, I can smell the light floral scent coming out of the drawing, which is scent mixing of Orange blossom, Sakura, as well as Gardenia. The light pink colored flower reminds me so much of the Sakura, which blooms in Spring, and the white flower reminds me of orange blossom and Gardenia. The flowy texture of the women’s dress in the center also creates a sense of that floral scent mixing together but then neutralized by the wind gently passing by. All the elements in the poster create a synesthesia of a light refreshing, with a bit of sweet scent, that the viewer can experience after taking a look at the poster, the femininity in the poster also enhances the scent that brought to the viewer. Therefore, the poster”Spring” done by the French Art Nouveau Artist Alphonse Mucha creates a synesthesia for the viewer through the great amounts of floral elements found in the background, the flowy textile texture in the foreground, as well as the overall femininity character found in the poster design, which is also one of the most important element for French Art Nouveau movement.