Grid – this word evokes a clear organizational system: Perhaps you think of graph paper, districts with a regular layout, or even entire cities like the Forbidden City in Beijing, the surroundings of the Emperor’s Palace in Kyoto, or New York’s block structures.
However, grids can also be used as a tool for artistic creation. For example, enlarging an image by means of a grid allows it to be altered beyond recognition, or the grid functions as an intermediary striking a balance or connection between various parts or levels of the image.
In his works on display in the exhibition Jianping He has selected a multi-layered structure. The starting point were portrait photographs, which Melchior Imboden created of designers whose works were a model or inspiration in some form or other for Jianping He and afforded him new artistic horizons. By merging these portraits in the Fusion series Jianping He pursues various ideas: On the one hand, there are correspondences in the general attitude taken to the topic of design, or they are precisely the opposite, for example, by using typography he has two designers appear on a single sheet. Nature as a role model and inspiration is incorporated in an almost self-evident manners into these compositions: For example, via different slides you also detect images of nature depicting Jianping He’s native China.
The artist relies on various-sized grids, angles and colour to connect all the elements. While the initial impression is that the grid produces the image, it is quickly apparent that the resulting coarse structure is actually an artistic instrument rather than a printing necessity. That said, the varying grids also enable different perceptions of the sheet from various vantage points of the viewer.
Various aspects of posters as a medium are addressed in the exhibition Grids. Not only does it explore the question as to the relationship between the applied and fine arts. In addition, Jianping He’s works straddle the interface between Asian and European poster traditions. References to these various sources are interwoven, but also juxtaposed sharply to one another – this produces an unusual imagery, which is also revealed in the works for this exhibition.
The posters were produced for Graphic Trial 2017 by Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., Tokyo. Printing Director was Riichi Yamaguchi.