10 February 2015
Kitching on both sides of the Thames
Two London exhibitions show different aspects of Alan Kitching’s typographic design – personal projects and work for the Guardian.
By the end of this week there will be exhibitions of Alan Kitching’s work in both north and south London.
Euston from the ‘Thames Suite’. Typographic map by Alan Kitching, 2015, which shows York Road, the location of ‘Alan Kitching on Press at the Guardian’, now at the paper’s foyer in Kings Place, London.
Top: Kitching’s poster for the exhibition, shown alongside the actual wood type used to print it in his Kennington letterpress studio.
Already open (since 22 January 2015) is ‘Alan Kitching on Press at the Guardian’ in the newspaper’s own entrance hall at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London – not far from Central Saint Martins in Granary Square and the stations of King’s Cross and St Pancras.
Borough from Kitching’s ‘Thames Suite’, 2015, on display at Advanced Graphics, 32 Long Lane, SE1 4AY, opening 13 February and running until 21 March 2015.
The other show is at Advanced Graphics London, near Borough tube station just south of London Bridge (from 13 February to 21 March 2015) , where Kitching will be exhibiting letterpress prints from a new series of maps called the ‘Thames Suite’, alongside larger prints such as Under Milk Wood (2014) …
Under Milk Wood, 2014, by Alan Kitching. Inspired by Dylan Thomas and with authorisation from his Estate.
… and some bigger typographic maps of Bloomsbury (2013) and Hampstead (2014).
The Guardian exhibition includes a few maps, but for the most part it is concerned with the impressive run of work that Mark Porter and many other Guardian art directors have commissioned from Kitching over the past fourteen years, starting with the Guardian Weekend cover for ‘Amis on porn’ (17 March 2001).
‘Amis on porn’, 2001. Original letterpress artwork by Alan Kitching.
Artwork (framed) and printed pages. Installation view of ‘Alan Kitching on Press at the Guardian’ in York Way, 2015. The ‘Why Iraq?’ newsprint placard, top left, is the one that Alan Kitching and his late wife Celia Stothard carried on the London anti-war rally on Sat 15 February 2003.
The display shows Kitching’s original artwork next to the printed outcome in the pages of the newspaper and its supplements. Another wall shows Kitching’s artwork for the mural he designed in the paper’s old premises in Farringdon Road, London.
Kitching’s mural for the Guardian’s former London headquarters, 2005. The words and phrases were selected from the nineteenth century prospectus for the newspaper. Mark Porter writes in the catalogue that ‘the sonorous phraseology of the prospectus – “mature and unbiased judgment”, “boldly expose public delinquencies” – seemed even more resonant when expressed through Alan’s compelling typography.’ Photograph: Celia Stothard.
Kitching’s work could also be seen on the front of the Guardian Saturday Review, 31 January 2015.
Far right: ‘David Hare on the Labour Party’, Guardian Saturday Review front cover by Alan Kitching, 31 January 2015.
Near right: broadsheet catalogue for the Guardian exhibition designed by Kitching and Daniel Chehade and printed by The Newspaper Club.
Alan Kitching at the exhibition. The panel behind his shoulder displays a short essay by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who declares that Kitching ‘invested the written word with visual power.’
2015 is already proving to be a busy year for Kitching – both for personal work (as seen in the Advanced Graphics show) and for commissions. In April, Laurence King will publish a book of his wood types, Alan Kitching’s A-Z of Letterpress (with an introduction by Eye editor John L. Walters) and in the summer he will lead the ‘Legacy of Letters 2015’ workshop organised by Paul Shaw at Tipoteca in Cornuda, northern Italy.
‘Alan Kitching on Press at the Guardian’ continues until Saturday 28 February 2015 at the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Open daily, admission free.
The Advanced Graphics exhibition runs from Friday 13 February until Saturday 21 March 2015 at Advanced Graphics London, Ground Floor, 32 Long Lane, London SE1 4AY. Open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 6pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm, admission free.
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