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Yoni Alter (Mar–May 2014)

Features / Graphic Design

Concentrated Graphic Goodness: A look back at some of Kemistry Gallery’s best posters

First published in Printed Pages Winter 2014

Words by

Rob Alderson

In November 2014 it was announced that London’s Kemistry Gallery was leaving its Shoreditch home after an astronomical rent rise it was unable to meet. Much of the conversation around the news looked forward to the future, amid ambitious plans for a bigger, better space that could become a UK centre for graphic art and design.

But we thought it was also a good chance to look back at ten extraordinary years of exhibitions through the graphics used to advertise them. Milton Glaser says that Kemistry’s “curatorial instincts are impeccable” and these posters are proof of that unerring eye for showcasing and celebrating the best practitioners around, from the industry’s leading lights (Seymour Chwast, Ken Garland, Saul Bass) to exciting rising stars (most of whom have subsequently gone on to be highly-celebrated in their field).

“Graphic art really is the marker of an age, so we try to exhibit work that represents a spread of talents and visual styles in order to give a sense of the rich history and cultures they represent, be it Jean Jullien’s strong type based work or the posters of revolutionary Cuba,” Kemistry founder Graham McCallum says.

“As with much graphic design, posters are disposable, ripped up or torn down once their job is done. This makes the survivors even more precious. They are superb pieces of concentrated graphic goodness, brilliant works of communication that evoke time and place
as few other art forms can.”

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James Joyce (May 2008)

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Parra (Dec 2005–Jan 2006)

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Saul Bass (Feb–Mar 2011)

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Jean Jullien (Feb–Mar 2013)

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Rob Lowe (Jun 2012)

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Anthony Burrill (Jul–Sept 2009)

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Ben Eine (Aug–Sept 2007)

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Ryan Todd (Jun 2013)

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Alan Fletcher (Aug—Oct 2011)