Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Visual Language of Herbert Matter

Yesterday, LACMA hosted the SoCal premiere of The Visual Language of Herbert Matter with director Reto Caduff, answering questions after the screening.

Most of those in attendance seemed to be graphic designers and rightly so--Matter is a huge influence on American graphic design, teaching at Yale in the early years of its design program as well as working with noted designers Charles and Ray Eames, companies such as Conde Nast, and creating a look and identity for Knoll Associates and New Haven Railroad. He also was close friends with Jackson Pollack, Alexander Calder and created a book showcasing the work of Alberto Giacometti.

His work is intimidating, beautiful, and inspiring. Matter worked and was influential in graphic design, photography, and montage as well as moving image (only one completed film-Calder's mobiles with John Cage's score).

The Visual Language of Herbert Matter had no recorded audio of the artist--possibly one interview on tape exists and there was very little writing or response from the artist.  Herbert Matter worked a good 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in his studio and let his work and language of image speak for itself.  Matter's work, commercial and artistic stand on their own as works of art.  The archives mostly residing at Stanford and tempts this gal to take a trip up there some time soon.

As a film- the filmmaker had to resolve the issue of stills and images, which he did with beautiful animation and motion graphics. The score for this film was unbelievable as well, complementing the image and narration.  Unusual and breaking the rules, Caduff narrated the film himself, putting a very personal spin on the information presented to the audience.
Check out the website of the film for more screening info
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