The international jury consisting of significant figures in graphic design will award several prizes, including the Grand Prix of the 26th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno – Award of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Mayor of Brno Award, and the Czech Centres’ Prize awarded to a graphic designer under 35.
- Åbäke (graphic design studio, UK)The first time Francesco Spampinato heard the word Åbäke dates back to 2002, associated with electronic music label Kitsuné, which is also a quintessential parisienne fashion brand. In fact Kitsuné is just one galaxy – collateral and not even representative – of the Åbäke universe, a London-based design studio behind which lurk Patrick Lacey, Benjamin Reichen, Kajsa Ståhl and Maki Suzuki. Active since 2000, the Royal College of Art alumni count clients like the British Council and the Serpentine Gallery, and collaborations with fashion designers such as Hussein Chalayan and Maison Martin Margiela, artists such as Ryan Gander, Johanna Billing and Martino Gamper, and bands such as Air and Daft Punk.
As the term Åbäke suggests, however, the Swedish word for a large and cumbersome object, Francesco suspects that the group supports the burden of design on commission only to learn rules and conventions that it is happy to deconstruct at other times. Åbäke, indeed, is also responsible for meta-design projects, independent, transdisciplinary, strictly collective and often participatory: the dialogical digital platform for architecture Sexymachinery (2000–2008), the relational culinary events of Trattoria (2003), the publishing project Dent-De-Leone (2009), the propaganda for the imaginary Victoria & Alferd Museum (2010), and the spy agency Åffice Suzuki (2010).
For Åbäke constantly attracts the attention of the art world: most of its projects do not certainly meet criteria of functionality, but raise questions about how design conveys the forms of transmission of culture. Publications, curatorship, talks and workshops, indeed, are integral part of their activities. So when Spampinato invites the group to be part of his book on art collectives, Åbäke agrees to contribute if Francesco writes in exchange this biography, inserting himself, “so it isn't authorless,” in third person, putting thereby in crisis the role of the critic and the conditions under which he normally associates intellectual values to cultural phenomena.
- Radana Lencová (graphic designer, CZ)Studied at the VŠUP Prague (1994–2000) and in the school’s doctorate programme (2002–2005). She is a graphic designer specializing in art experiments combining type, light and dance (Metamorphosis of Waste – Transformation of the Soul project). Her current work involves book design and free calligraphy (The Line of Breath project). She has received several awards, for example, the Alfons Mucha Prize; the Brno Biennale Prize (1998); the Most Beautiful Czech Book prize, and others.
- Barbara Steiner (curator, DE)Barbara Steiner is curator, editor and author with an emphasis on politics of representation, institutional critique/criticality, architecture, and display. From 2001 to 2011, Steiner was Director of the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig. There, she also initiated the annual art prize INFORM, an accolade presented to graphic designers, who develop a practise within the context of graphic design and art. From May 2012 to May 2013 Steiner headed Europe (to the power of) n, a transnational project, which took place in eleven cities in and outside the European Union. After, she was curator in residence at Castrum Peregrini in Amsterdam. Within the scope of her residency she drew attention to the relation of art and graphic design in particular consideration of their social and economic entanglements.
The jury will meet on June 18, 2014 on premises of The Moravian Gallery in Brno. The awards will be announced on the occasion of opening of the 26th Biennial Brno 2014 on June 19, 2014.