Grapus – A French collective of graphic designers

5 July 2018 - 3 October 2018

Paris 1968: The student’s revolt and the protest of the working class shake the foundations of various social spheres. Art and design are equally caught by this new dynamic. The most visible expression of this is the mass-production of posters since the month of May. Three students that work at the Atelier Populaire – the printing workshop of the Parisian École des Arts Décoratifs – start a collective of graphic designers called Grapus. The founding members were Pierre Bernard, François Miehe, and Gérard Paris-Clavel. They were joined by Jean-Paul Bachollet in 1974 and by Joseph Beuys‘ student Alex Jordan in 1976. The group’s work was motivated by solidarity with the protesting workers, a critical stance towards capitalism, the goals of the international peace movement, and the belief that art and design can contribute to social change. The collective rejected commercial advertising and mainly worked for the Communist Party, the union CGT, for social organizations, communes, cultural institutions, and as of 1981 for governmental ministries as well. The group broke with visual habits and created highly innovative and sensual graphic designs using handwriting, blurred photographs, stains and various collage elements. At the beginning of the 1990s, the collective dissolved but the unconventional image language they had created continues to have an effect until today.

“Grapus – A French collective of graphic designers” is part of the double exhibition “2 x 1968” conceived by the Bröhan Museum on the occasion of contemplating the impact of the ’68-movement on design after 50 years.

A publication will accompany the exhibition. Media partners: Wall GmbH, Kulturradio vom rbb, Dinamix.

Curators: Dr. Tobias Hoffmann, Dr. Anna Grosskopf