A visitor walks at the “daydream” exhibition. Photos by courtesy of hesign, Design Society
Visitors at the “daydream” exhibition.
IMPACTFUL graphic design can provide surprising insight. Even if you don’t fully understand the messages the designers are transmitting, you can still sense the visual power projected from a poster, a book cover, a company logo or a type font.
At a newly opened graphic design exhibition in Shenzhen, Berlin-based Chinese designer He Jianping (aka Jumping He) covers the huge walls of a 1,200-square-meter hall with his past works, perfectly projecting visual communications to his viewers.
Titled “daydream,” the exhibition reviews He’s graphic design achievements in the past 25 years and displays his works in nine sections: “Montage,” “The Indistinct,” “The Mountains and the Water,” “Face,” “Typography,” “Art,” “Reading,” “Identity” and “Curation.”
“The core of graphic design is transmitting ideas or messages through two-dimensional visuals. So I pasted all the exhibits on the walls, not displaying them in cabinets, to let visitors experience a two-dimensional visual world,” He explained.
As a veteran graphic designer, inspiration and new ideas remain a challenge for him and he describes his process of thinking as “daydreaming.” “Daydream is between dreaming and awakening: We can’t think when we are dreaming, nor dream a dream when we are awake. In daydreaming, new ideas can be sparked through my divergent reviews of what I have experienced,” he explained about the exhibition title.
He’s answer may refer to his experiences in China and Germany and his habit of collecting every relevant item in his work, which have contributed to his designs.
Born in Fuyang, Hangzhou City in 1973, He received solid training in arts and crafts at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou and then studied graphic design at the Berlin University of the Arts. He obtained his Ph.D. in cultural history at the Free University of Berlin in 2011.
His early graphic design works were set in a photomontage style by rearranging and overlapping two or multiple images into a composite one. This dramatic effect can direct a viewer’s mind toward specific connections.
Not satisfied with following the footsteps of photomontage graphic designers in Germany, He began to blend a blurring effect and the Chinese ink painting style in his designs. Mountains and rivers in his hometown Fuyang became his handy resources and his early-year training in Chinese calligraphy and ink paintings helped him incorporate this style into graphic design with ease.
He has taught at the Berlin University of the Arts and the China Academy of Art. His works have been globally awarded, such as the Gold Prize at the International Poster Biennale in Poland, Red Dot Design Award in Germany, Gold Prize at Joseph Binder Award in Austria, German Design Award and the Yellow Pencil of D&AD in Britain.
“I received higher education at two art colleges, I taught at two art colleges, and I designed posters, publications and exhibitions for some artists. My understanding in contemporary art has also influenced me in graphic design,” he said.
Along with He’s past design works, his drafts, letters, notes, publications and diaries, as well as critics’ articles, are also on display. He said that he used to focus on visual effects in graphic design but after he studied cultural history for his Ph.D., he perceived that messages behind images are more important, and viewers’ receiving of images, their comprehension of messages and their mood when seeing images should also be considered by graphic designers.
Dates: Until May 30
Venue: Shenzhen UCCN Center, 2/F, Sea World Culture and Arts Center, Nanshan District (南山区海上世界文化艺术中心二楼联合国教科文组织展馆)
Metro: Line 2 to Sea World Station (海上世界站), Exit A