Edited by Wayne Daly & Adrien Vasquez
Essays by Regine Ehleiter & Roland Früh
Dressed in Black extends out of the exhibition A Shelf for Lothar, staged in 2016 at the 27th Brno Biennial of Graphic Design. The book reproduces 115 jackets from the Spektrum series, the work of German designer and artist Lothar Reher.
Spektrum, published in East Berlin by Volk und Welt from 1968 to 1993, embodied the ideals of accessibility and inclusiveness epitomised by the wave of mid-twentieth century paperbacks, in their inherent simplicity and usability. And yet, despite its mass readership, the series’ dense monochrome imagery has an uneasy air of mystery, with often oblique relationship to the books’ contents.
Reher designed all but one of the series’ 279 titles, producing the photographic montages more or less single handedly. Recurring motifs such as skulls, faces, museological artefacts and spherical objects reveal a long-term visual grammar, with later books in the series often echoing back to earlier designs. These taxonomies formed the basis of the shelf display in Brno, and aim to gain insight into Reher’s distinctive interpretation of this considerable body of literature.
Alongside actual size reproductions of the jackets, Dressed in Black features essays by Regine Ehleiter and Roland Früh which further elaborate on the transactions between book and exhibition formats.
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