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“That does not make design art”, Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven)

«… I still believe in a very romantic idea of art, and I also believe that design is not meant to be art: it has a different role. But art is recently providing sometimes a more interesting [space …]: “communication as a research question,” and not as an answer that is formulated by marketing people or branding firm, that is exactly all we need. We need exactly that space to think about communication, instead of coming up with answers that are maybe totally boring or predictable. So if the art world is giving design a chance to think and research, that is fantastic. So why shouldn’t we take that opportunity? But that does not make design “art”.»
These are the words of Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven) speaking at the panel discussion organized on February 2, 2012, to celebrate the new opening of the “passage” of the Museion. Chaired by Rein Wolfs, guest curator of the Museum of modern and contemporary art of Bozen/Bolzano, the panel aimed at exploring “the new public” of museums, especially art museums. It is interesting that, to do so, Wolfs has invited four graphic design teams – Lupo & Burtscher (Bozen), Norm (Zurich), HIT (Berlin) and Metahaven (Amsterdam) – to design a series of posters that reflect, or may help reflecting, on that topic.
The panel discussion involved Martino Gamper, who was in charge to re-design the ground floor of the museum, Emanuela De Cecco, art critic, Angelika Burtscher (Lupo & Burtscher) and Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven). Inevitably, the issue of “design and art” was raised. And the words by van der Velden quoted above refer to this point.
The poster designed by Metahaven for this event focuses on “Black Transparency,” or “Robin Hood’s transparency” as van der Velden explained: «because there is something about it that is rebellious, but also there is a honesty about it, and that is maybe why it is not always black and it is also beautiful, so there is also pink in the poster.»

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