To accompany his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig, this book presents the work of the Swiss-American graphic designer Zak Kyes. In collaboration with the curator, Barbara Steiner, the exhibition and publication bring together a range of works by Kyes, as well as works by a host of collaborators that includes architects, artists, writers, curators, editors, and graphic designers, presenting contemporary graphic design as a practice that mediates, and is mediated by, its allied disciplines.
Kyes, who lives and works in London, is known for his critical approach to graphic design, which encompasses publishing, editing, and site-specific projects for and in collaboration with cultural institutions. In 2005, Kyes founded the design studio Zak Group, and, in 2006, he became Art Director of the Architectural Association (AA), London. Under the auspices of the AA, he organized the seminal touring exhibition “Forms of Inquiry: The Architecture of Critical Graphic Design,” and later cofounded Bedford Press, an imprint that seeks to develop new models for contemporary publishing. By broadening the highly specialized role of the designer, Kyes challenges and further develops today’s graphic design practice.
While this work constitutes the exhibition’s point of departure, its focus is on the conceptual, visual, and economic intersections that link Kyes with his collaborators, revealing and further unfolding the designer’s multivalent practice. These intersections vary in form from idealistic to pragmatic, urgent and time-sensitive to abiding and long-lasting. Rather than presenting a chronological overview of Kyes’s work, the book highlights the designer’s relations with partners, clients, and institutions, and the creative potential of these collaborations to evolve traditional understandings of graphic design, art, and architecture.
With contributions by Can Altay, Charles Arsène-Henry, Shumon Basar, Richard Birkett, Andrew Blauvelt, Edward Bottoms, Wayne Daly, Jesko Fezer, Joseph Grigely, Nikolaus Hirsch, Maria Lind, Markus Miessen, Michel Müller, Radim Peško, Barbara Steiner