Spring 2023

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Catherine Griffiths: Solo in [ ] Space

By Zhihua Duan with Catherine Griffiths, published by Pocca, $115.00.

Catherine Griffiths: Solo in [ ] Space by Zhihua Duan with Catherine Griffiths is ostensibly the catalogue to an exhibition held at The Space Gallery, Shanghai in 2019, but of course it is much more. The dazzlingly reflective silver cover (an artfully folded poster) announces a book that comes from someone with a deep love of type and print and a highly developed personal aesthetic.

Yet Griffiths’ best known work, shown in Solo in [ ] Space as photographs and diagrams that explain where they fit into Zhihua Duan’s curation, are big public statements, large-scale graphics made with a confidence and generous vision that has been at the root of Griffiths’ typographic work for decades.

The Wellington Writers Walk, poems set in concrete near the New Zealand capital’s harbour district, is one such public statement, described by Leonardo Sonnoli in the catalogue as, ‘the best work with which to introduce Catherine: very poetic and delicate, and at the same time so strong and heavy.’

Other outdoor installations, which function as openhanded ‘public design’ more than ‘public art’, are shown in the gallery and book in a way that demonstrates the scale of Griffiths’ projects while keeping the attention warm and personal. Friends and colleagues such as Liza Enebeis (see Eye 100), Masayoshi Kodaira (Japan), Anastasia Genkina (Russia) and Scarlett Xin Meng (China) contribute further short essays. The design, by Griffiths and Bruce Connew, incorporates texts in Chinese and English.

The scale changes for an overview of Griffiths’ work with Connew, her husband, on photobooks such as Body of Work and I Must Behave, for which the typography, lettering, binding and specification work imaginatively and unpredictably with Connew’s humane photography.

John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London

First published in Eye no. 104 vol. 26, 2023

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.