30 March - 21 April 2006
The Aram Gallery is pleased to announce a unique installation of over 90 posters produced by Don’t Panic in London from the turn of the millennium.
Posters are part of a city’s skin, like temporary tattoos they parade attitude as much as content. Whether advertising for commercial opportunities, cultural events or political protests, this medium has won its place as a new template for social engagement and sometimes even recognised as a new branch of art. The credit for this is often attributed to Jules Cheret, who pushed the lithographic process to enable the progress of the posters as a modern medium of expression. With his help 19th Century club promoters with an artistic inclination commissioned the likes of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to design the Moulin Rouge promotional posters. More recently, but certainly in this tradition, Don’t Panic, a small advertising publisher started by club promoters, has produced over 90 posters in the last 6 years, designed by emerging talents and established masters of the art.
The format they use is unique to them and in tune with the generation it was borne from. The posters are part of a ‘goodie bag’ distributed at venues, clubs and bars and are also available as independent artwork online. These posters reflect the vibrant relationship of local graphic design with the music and club scene, and have become part of design culture now in London. The very visible and democratic presence of this combination, effectively on the streets, contributes to london’s international status as a hub of contemporary metropolitan living, culture and design.
The Aram Gallery is interested in the temporal nature of the works and in the close relationship of design with advertising. The complicit and applied nature of the relationship between design and advertising or design and politics in these works yields significant insight into the way designers rise to the challenges of constraints – of format and communication. This is also a chance to survey a large number of active designers who are significant in the make up of our local contemporary visual culture. Although London based, Don’t Panic operate also in other cities in UK as well as Amsterdam, Sydney, and commission designers from a wide variety of origins and backgrounds. Their overall character and attraction is very much to do with London.
Don’t Panic usually set a theme or interest for the designer. As they declare in their mission statement their desire is to “encourage dialogue and communication, raising and addressing issues that affect contemporary culture with mind to bring change to the industry and global society.” Themes often relate to social interests and protest, such as environment, war/bush, social participation and creativity. The disciplines that are invited to partake are diverse and include photography, fine art, graphic design, graffiti, copywriting and model making all constrained to the A2 format.