Alex Jordan is a graphic designer, photographer and professor and in 1976 he joined as a member of the famed Grapus design collective in Paris with Pierre Bernard, Gérard Paris-Clavel, Jean-Paul Bachollet. As he says “I took part of the Grapus adventure in the last century.” Until October 3 his and other members’ work is part of a big Grapus retrospective exhibition in the Berlin Bröhan Museum.
Jordan has an illustriously speckled past: In 1985 he founded the photo agency Le Bar Floréal. In 1989 he helped organize the group Nous Travaillons Ensemble with Grapus members. In1993 Grapus disbanded and he was appointed to the communications and design department at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weisensee. And since 2000 he has been a member of the Art Direction team, International Poster Festival, Chaumont, France. He also runs his own atelier.
He recently sent me some posters and “glyphs” that comprise the basis for his work today. The Grapus exhibition in Berlin shows posters, filmed interviews of François Bachollet, Gerard Paris-Clavel, Jean-Paul Bachollet and Jordan, with a lot of agitprop materials and photos, as well as graphic design and “interventions before the digital revolution”.
He says the reactions of the young visitors are something between “good old stuff” and marvel at the “no-commercial thematics” and “free-style” expressions, like the work shown here. He proudly notes, there are “no logos except the ones from trade unions, political parties, theater and culture.”
Talking about Grapus, Jordan notes “the beginning was always a common discussion, not only with words but with time spent together drawing, a kind of exhausting but passionate artistic ping-pong play.”
During his professorship in Berlin he pushed the students to try this method of jotting and sketching, like the images here, “instead of seeking ideas in internet-spaces.” And not to begin thinking “falsely like a conventional designer, a creator of ‘good form’.
What he tells to students, “I do it myself.” For these images he used a number 8 pencil, China ink, 21 x 29,7cm letter paper. He writes with images, with “my fingers my arm too; and naturally my eyes and brain.” All these are Jordan’s impressions and fears after having read the press, heard the TV rubbish, seen scenes in the street and more.