Design(Radar partecipa, con i progetti di scrittura visiva Absolute Poetry Illustrato e NOWAR!Project, alla Prima Biennale Croata della Illustrazione che si sta svolgendo nella città di Zagabria, col patrocinio della commissione croata dell'UNESCO. L'esposizione è stata inaugurata il 6 Giugno 2006 e si protrarrà fino al 23 Luglio 2006. Qui di seguito il testo scritto dalla curatrice per l'Italia della Biennale per il Catalogo ufficiale dell'evento, con le note introduttive a tutti gli artisti e/o progetti italiani presenti.

All my pictures of you.
From books to street art.

At a time when images overload the different “scapes” that surround us, illustration discovers new fields of interventions. The exhibition brings together a group of young artists who all use illustration as one of the primary languages within their otherwise multidisciplinary practices, defining new trajectories in a continuous resampling of reality.

The collective project Absolute Poetry/Illustrato results from the meeting among writing, visual and graphic design, and art in order to develop a complex narrative process. Its growth and development is shaped continuously by ongoing contributions and research. In this first phase it is being performed through a number of itinerant exhibitions. A two month contest at the website Design(Radar resulted in the collecting of many works specifically created for a poetry anthology. Like this initial internet site, the current exhibits will live a life in progress.

The work of Gianluca Costantini combines the written word and the clear, definite drawn line to give life to the book Vorrei incontrarti. The graphic and decorative research (“the decoration of existence”, as he defines it) leads to a work of illustration especially intertwined with the text but also capable of living on its own. The word itself becomes a decorative sign, almost an arabesque that prolongs the visual pleasure of the written word before ending with the complete picture. It becomes the inextricable thread that leads through the story.

A further, and very vital, field for illustration is political commentary, presenting incisive and critical views of our society. In this context, the NOWAR! Project features the will to express a strong position against all conflicts. It's a collaborative project involving artists and visual/graphic designers, aiming at the creation of visual narrations where the writing interlaces with illustration and mobile images. Starting from an outline text, organized in verbal and visual suggestions, each contributor is asked to collaborate with other participants working on the same text. Even though linked everytime to a main theme, the development of the story is meant to be free to try new paths and suggestions.

The world of illustration has gone also beyond the domain of books to include illustration work for mobile phone, computer desktops, satirical cartoons, as well as graffiti.
Street art is invading the walls of our towns, finding new spaces for artistic expression, far from the classical circuit of culture. The little robots realized by PixelPancho as stickers and stencils begin to fill these urban spaces with pictures, cheering up the daily routine. Following some practices already established by International Situationists, public space becomes a source of free expression. First appearing always at night, and in locations where the eye will just happen upon them, the images of the robots tend to open new perspectives in the way of perceiving the urban space.

Another way of experimenting with illustration is exemplified by the installations of TODO. Their work takes place in nightclubs, creating a dialogue with electronic music and the words of a writer. Everything happens in “real time”, forming a new mix between media technology and carried content. The club culture in fact is currently a sphere with great possibilities for cross-fertilization and research on new software. Words interweave with music in an endless flux, and the new code creates new possibilities.

The flourishing, fresh atmosphere of music also overwhelms the work of Cikita and Sweety. Working with new technologies, such as the vj sets they realize, their world references pop culture and is full of vitality. Cikita works with definite fluorescent colors, giving life to a scenario full of engaging images. It is the expression of pure amusement, but with a strong sensibility. She remixes the elements of reality, proposing new narrative paths inside the cultural ecosystem. Sweety creates a visual pattern made of ironical references to mass-media culture. The technique of the digital collage proposes a detournement of some typical tourist guidebooks images, such as monuments and squares of the town where the two artists live, suggesting a new surreal landscape. The resulting collection of postcards becomes the estranged souvenir of a fantastic and fascinating voyage.

The same genuine and fresh mood pervades the world of Mara Aghem: the images that cover her packaging, comics, or the large canvases function as a bridge between what is real and what is unreal, characterized by a strong chromatic impact. The particular atmosphere of the Tarots evokes even more clearly the limit between reality and tale. The viewer is left with samples of an unceasingly changing imaginary that allows consideration of the work on many different levels of meaning.

The artist book of Cornelia Badelita expresses a more personal exploration: a collection of self-portraits that together form a kind of “monologue”. The need for this reflection on the self resulted from a decision that changed the lives of the artist and her family: they moved from one country to another looking for a new chance. The monologue of self-portraits is a way to continue to know herself, even within her new context. This effort at self-knowldge becomes embodied in a Badelita’a highly contrasting black and white, realized in a format that catches her face directly. The choice of the engravings is also indicative of the clear, clean analysis to which the artist subjects herself. There are not any compromises in her self regard just as there are not any half tones. Badelita tries to see if she is able to recognize herself in the past as well as in the future.

Karin Gavassa

Editorial assistance: Tom Johnson