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Rick Poynor
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Archive: November 2011


How to Cover an Impossible Book

I had never heard of Tadeusz Borowski’s book until I happened to see it in a bookstore. From the author’s Polish name and the ferocious irony of the title, it was obvious what it was about and the cover photograph of something fiery and blackened clinched my desire to read it. The image played menacingly against the title — it could be interpreted as a deadly miasma — and had great metaphorical power without stating anything specific.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (5)

The Infinite Warehouse of Images

The grouchy existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously declared, “Hell is other people.” If JPS had been around today, he might have felt obliged to revise that axiom. In the age of the upload, when no personal snap is too inconsequential to post, we confront the stark possibility that hell just might be other people’s photographs. As the photo collector Erik Kessels puts it, we are “drowning in pictures of the experiences of others.”

READ MORE | COMMENTS (5)

Literary Horror from the Chapman Brothers

The new issue of Granta has a rather fine cover by the British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. The literary magazine’s theme is horror and the Chapmans’ delicate pencil drawing on fragile 18th-century parchment shows something nameless, formless and unspeakable. Commissioned by artistic director Michael Salu, the brothers were an inspired choice. Few artists have embraced the ambivalence of horror with more relish.

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This Post has Been Declared a Link-free Zone

One of the simple satisfactions of writing online is putting in links, though I didn’t always see it that way. When I started blogging on Design Observer I viewed the links as a bit of a chore. But that was a long time ago and I soon came round. Today, when working on a post, I look forward to planting links that will shoot their tendrils outwards from the text.

READ MORE | COMMENTS (9)
Rick Poynor is a writer, critic, lecturer and curator, specialising in design, media, photography and visual culture. He founded Eye, co-founded Design Observer, and contributes columns to Eye and Print. His latest book is Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design.


Recent Book


Uncanny Surrealism and Graphic Design
Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design
Rick Poynor
Moravian Gallery, 2010
More books by Rick Poynor >>


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