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4–7 September, 2019

Saturday, 7 September | | Miraikan Hall

Keynote | Presented in English

News from nowhere or: How I learned to stop worrying about coming from a small European country and started to do research about Jože Brumen, (typo)graphic designer

In 1999 dr. Christopher Burke gave an amusing lecture titled “How to be a modernist”. My talk will build an argument to what an extent Jože Brumen (1930-2000), Slovenian architect, sculptor and one of the most influential graphic designers, could be defined as a modernist according to dr. Burke’s 10 points.

Brumen studied architecture under influential modernist Edvard Ravnikar and he went on winning numerous awards for his posters, book design and corporate identities. The talk will discuss some of Brumen’s most important contributions to modernist design in Yugoslavia, but will also explore the intricacies of Brumen’s design of a constructivist poetry book Integrali ’26 (1967). It was written by avant-garde poet Srečko Kosovel in 20s, but was not published till the 60s. I will discuss possible influences of Japanese design on Brumen, his minimalist approach to design and introduction of Helvetica into (then) Yugoslav printing houses. The talk will try to open questions about relationships between design and history; the role of design in society in the past and in the future; and what does it actually mean to be “nationally important” in current political situation.

This talk is based on a long-term research into primary sources at diverse institutions (Estate of Jože Brumen, Museum of architecture and design, National and University Library, National Museum of Slovenia, City Library and private archives) and will culminate in a book in 2020.