Manuel Birnbacher’s practice is a curious amalgam of smart, contemporary graphic design and strangely compulsive art-like-work (see the throbbing rock on his homepage). A portfolio like this is an open and well-spoken answer to some nasally voiced questions about the parameters of applied design and when it turns into “art” or Art or art.
What Manuel has – no doubt honed during his simultaneous education at the Pratt Institute New York and at the Bauhaus University Weimar – is an ability to apply fundamental/classic graphic design with deft communicability and then in the same breath use them, for example, to manipulate unfortunate deformities into the faces of America’s Civil War heroes.
It is one of the most commendable features to his work that even this strangeness is of a high quality, it makes his body of work so much more memorable and, as a parting gift, the designer will never again let us see a picture of Abraham Lincoln without us conjuring a mental image of the old president’s face falling off. A thank you to Manuel.