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GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years Makes an Impression in Brasilia

The GraphicsRCA exhibition, which celebrates 50 years of graphic design at the RCA and premiered at the College last winter, has gone on tour to Brazil. In September, it was on display at the National Museum of the Republic in Brasilia as part of the 7th International Congress of Design Information 2015.

GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years travelled to Brasilia with support from the British Embassy and the University of Brasilia. The exhibition was co-curated by Teal Triggs, Associate Dean of the School of Communication, Celia Matsunaga professor at the University of Brasilia, who graduated from the RCA in 1998, and Marisa Maass, also from the University of Brasilia.

Professor Teal Triggs said: ‘We are thrilled to bring this exhibition to Brazil, a country where graphic design has a rich tradition. The works in this exhibition have the power to capture the essence of the ethics of teaching at our institution, which has always been at the forefront of graphic design.’

The exhibition featured 72 original works taken from the RCA’s collection and archives. The selected works included issues of the student journal Ark, posters for the RCA Film Society, stamps designed for the Royal Mail, and numerous College-commissioned exhibition catalogues and collaborative student projects. Two highlights were John Pasche’s infamous lips logo designed for the Rolling Stones in 1971, while Pasche was still a student, and Jonathan Barnbrook’s typographic experiment from 1990, made using early font design software.

The exhibition affirms the RCA’s position at the leading edge of graphic design education over the last 50 years. It draws on the rich history of graphic design at the College whilst looking to the future challenges and provocations the discipline may face. In taking the exhibition to Brazil, the College provided the opportunity for a wider audience to view these rarely seen works, acknowledging the worldwide reputation and importance of graphic design from the RCA.

Discussing the exhibition, Alex Ellis, the British Ambassador in Brazil said: ‘It is a great opportunity for all those who admire graphic design; this is especially true for students. We receive a lot of Brazilian talent in our universities in the UK, and we now have the chance to provide Brazil with a little from one of the world's best art schools.’

A book, GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond, accompanies the exhibition. It features specially commissioned essays by Mike Dempsey and Adrian Shaughnessy, alongside original interviews with past students including Why Not Associates' Andy Altmann and British actor Alan Rickman. Designed by recent RCA graduates Antonio Bertossi and Esa Matinvesi, the book features a gatefold cover and foldout inner pages alongside a centre-fold timeline and visual essays throughout.

Alongside the exhibition a series of workshops, talks and seminars were organised. Sergio Gordilho, who is director of the Africa Agency in São Paulo, and attended the RCA in the late 1990s, gave a lecture about his practice. Rico Lins, also a graduate of the RCA, delivered a talk on his work, and ran a series of workshops for design, communications and arts students. A series of his posters and graphic products were displayed alongside the main exhibition. 

Further information on the exhibition can be found here and further images of the show in Brasilia and updates on future venues can be found here.

GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond can be purchased here.