With the 59th Venice Biennale well underway, our attention turns to the Italian exhibition's graphic identity for 2022. Crafted by A Practice for Everyday Life, the London studio founded by Kirsty Carter and Emma Thomas in 2003, it's inspired by Surrealism and represented by eyes, which can be seen dotted around the Venetian city.
This year's inaugural show, The Milk of Dreams, has been curated by Cecilia Alemani, who says its title is taken from a book by Leonora Carrington in which the Surrealist artist describes a "magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination".
This latest edition of the Biennale Arte "focuses on three thematic areas: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth". To that end, the brief for A Practice for Everyday Life was to create an identity that explores these ideas of "fluidity, identity, the human and the non-human, re-enchantment, and fragmentation," according to the studio.
At the identity's heart, we see various artists' work, featuring close-up details of paintings by Belkis Ayón, Felipe Baeza, Tatsuo Ikeda and Cecilia Vicuña – all of which share something in common: their representation of eyes. It matches themes running throughout the entire exhibition of dreams, identity, the body, and reflection. The subsequent posters, banners, and billboards on display across Venice include mysterious characters looking back at the public, bringing inanimate walls, bridges, and boats to life.
In terms of typography, classical lettering is featured across the identity, weaving across multiple mediums, and is also animated for more digital content. This typographic approach continues across all marketing materials, books and merchandise – combining playful contemporary layouts with the classicism of a serif roman typeface in a nod to some of the historical reflections within the exhibition itself.
A Practice for Everyday Life also led the design of the official catalogue across two volumes. The slipcase and various book covers feature details from artworks by the artists mentioned earlier, again united in their focus on the mysterious eyes.
"The main catalogue is a comprehensive overview of the exhibition, following the visitor's journey through The Milk of Dreams, including large-scale illustrations of every artist featured," explains the studio. "It spans over 900 pages and consists of two volumes: the first is dedicated to the exhibition curated by Cecilia Alemani, while the second focuses on the national participations."