The latest issue of FUKT, the annual magazine for contemporary drawing, responds to the theme ‘Words’ with a well-researched selection of artworks that make use of lettering.
That content is perfectly introduced by the cover design. FUKT covers always offer a unique response to the issue theme, and this time designer Ariane Spanier makes the most of a simple idea — she literally draws with words. ‘It has the designers point of view, describing elements of the cover and its production,’ she told me, ‘The words are mostly by me, and then everybody in the studio added lines here and there’. The result, rendered in one of the wider versions of sans serif Acumin, offers several levels of meaning.
The title of the magazine is expressed using directional instructions for the shapes of the letters; the page size and compass directions of its four edges are listed, along with notations describing the rounded, notebook-like corners of the issue; and a further level of meaning comes from humorous descriptions of the type of marks and dirt that will inevitably stain the pristine white of the cover – Sticky area, Dirty fingerprint etc.
Further humour comes from a text admitting the a letter ‘L’ has been deleted from the phrase ‘Vertical(l)ine’ so the vertical stroke of the ‘T’ of FUKT fits the other characters.
In doing so, neatly the cover sums up the mood swings of the issue. From the outset there is a serious point to the focus on words. Editor Bjorn Hegardt opens his intro, ‘In a time of fake news and populism, the word seems to have lost some ground…’ and the first interview has Paula Scher talking about her refusal to engage with anything to do with the current US President as she discusses her word map paintings.
Humour comes from Peter Phobia’s reflections about American life and culture (above), and Ed Ruscha’s word drawings tease out the relationship between meaning and presentation when context is removed, at once serious and amusing (below).
The entire issue is densely packed with interviews and drawings, just like the cover. The theme is a strong one and the magazine contains a richly rewarding collection of work by all types of artist including Paula Troxler, Henri Chopin and Stefan Marx.
Editor: Björn Hegardt
Editorial assistant: Alice Finney
Design: Ariane Spanier