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Book from Sophie Demay exhibition at Venice Biennale

MA Graphic Media Design lecturer Sophie Demay collaborates with Laure Provoust for 58th Venice Biennale

Written by Maha Khan
Published date 24 May 2019

London College of Communication’s MA Graphic Media Design associate lecturer Sophie Demay has been commissioned to design the French Pavilion with artist Laure Provoust.

Sophie Demay and her design studio, In the Shade of a Tree, worked with Turner Prize winning artist Laure Provoust on a series of printed objects and a monograph for her exhibition ‘Deep See Blue Surrounding You/Vois Ce Bleu Profond Te Fondre’ for the French Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale.

Her Paris/London studio, founded with Maël Fournier-Comte, partners with a broad range of clients from all over the world to "create visual objects and identities that embrace ambiguity, explore narrative structures, and support reading/viewing experiences”. In the Shade of a Tree has previously collaborated with many prestigious institutions such as the British Council, Serpentine Galleries and Royal College of Art.

“Storytelling is really important in our work: we use the details of a building, a reference from an artist or writer to build a narrative, and we weave our designs around it.” - Sophie Demay

Sophie teaches at LCC on the MA Graphic Design course, which studies the use of graphic design as a critical tool to probe the complexities of contemporary visual culture and to produce effective design.

When asked about the use of narrative in design, she said that “storytelling is really important in our work: we use the details of a building, a reference from an artist or writer to build a narrative, and we weave our designs around it.”

“Laure Prouvost, an artist who lived in London for more than 15 years after moving from her native France, is also a great storyteller. She assembles narratives, plays semantic and semiotic games in playful and disorientating displays and exhibitions. Prouvost works with the process of translation from French to English, text to image, or film to sculpture" Sophie explained.

exhibition guide and tote bag
Tote bag and exhibition guide designed by Sophie Demay

For the French Pavillion, Sophie and Laure have produced a show identity including signage, exhibition guides, tote bags, invites, as well as a substantial monograph. The exhibition book has been designed as an atlas, symbolising a journey through 33 cities and making six stops for some of Laure's major works and exhibitions.

The communication material employs the metaphor of an octopus to portray Laure’s work. The studio has also paid homage to Venetian masks by incorporating eye cut-outs into the exhibition guide, for users to turn into masks inside and outside the Pavilion.

Pavilion curator, Martha Kirszenbaum, describes ‘Deep See Blue Surrounding You/Vois Ce Bleu Profond Te Fondre’ as a reflection on concepts of generations and identities tinged with utopia and surrealism. The project is committed to representing an escapist journey taking the form of an “invitation to melt in a liquid and tentacular universe amongst the different unveiled and shared realities.”

The Venice Biennale 2019 takes place from May 11 to November 24. The 58th International Art Exhibition, ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, is curated by Ralph Rugoff and includes artworks that, in his words, “reflect upon precarious aspects of existence today.”

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