The Documents programme explores the relationships between art and publishing, and other subjects that include the effects of archive on narratives of art history, the artist’s book and publishing as an artistic practice. In this edition, Documents 19 focuses on the rise of graphic design and illustration with the central theme of Madrid, a strong presence in the Museo Reina Sofía’s growing collection of posters and graphic work.
This round-table discussion on municipalist graphic art concludes the programme of this new edition, following an initial creative workshop conducted by Enrique Flores and held from 10 to 12 November 2021.
The encounter, which brings together designers Marga Castaño, Mercedes deBellard and Carmen García Huerta, and creative director Nacho Padilla, focuses on some of the recent iconic posters on the city of Madrid and looks at the possible ways of representing the contemporary city. In the second decade of the 2000s, Madrid’s graphic design and illustration has materialised with the kind of splendour and dynamism comparable to the 1920s. So what are the characteristics of this graphic vibrancy?
In this debate two central ideas are developed. First, the way in which the municipal sphere has constituted spaces which are a hive of activity, largely due to a series of public initiatives backing talent, continuity and the professionalisation of designers. In so doing, it has demonstrated the significant role of public institutions as a key piece for creating and nurturing design culture in its surrounding environments, as a tool for relating to the public sphere and as a powerful communicative medium. And second, the way to put forward settings with which to counteract “city-brand” policies intended to transform the image of the major city into an easy and recognisable product of global consumerism. Opposite this simplification, contemporary posters on Madrid have represented the metropolis as a space where diverse identities co-exist, recovering historical memory and widening the city’s spaces of representation, as well as shining the spotlight on neighbourhoods rather than the picture-postcard monument. In short, what are these forms of citizenship which have emerged through today’s poster art and illustration?
Marga Castaño is a graphic designer. She began her career as an art director at Canaldata, and subsequently moved to Wysiwyg, the digital agency where she worked for 15 years as an art director, creative director and, finally, managing director, heading creative projects for brands that include Diesel, Absolut, Levi’s, Mercedes, Openbank, Garnier and Madrid’s Teatro Real. In 2014, she founded the creative studio Apéritif with Nacho Álvarez-Borrás.
Mercedes deBellard is an illustrator. She has developed her work in spheres such as advertising, publishing, the press and fashion for Spanish and international clients such as Warner Bros, Coca-Cola, Movistar+, The telegraph, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and Cinemanía Magazine, among others. Her work largely focuses on portraiture.
Carmen García Huerta is an illustrator and graphic designer whose work is aligned towards fashion illustration and portraiture. She was selected among the top 100 illustrators by the publication The Illustrator (Taschen) in 2014 and 2019. Her clients most notably include brands such as YSL, Lancôme, Louis Vuitton, La Cartuja de Sevilla, Cervezas Alhambra and El Corte Inglés, and she has also contributed to fashion magazines such as ELLE and Vogue, as well as art books.
Nacho Padilla holds a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the Complutense University of Madrid. He has worked as an editor at McCann Erickson and creative director at Contrapunto BBDO. In 2010, he founded Viernes, a studio which applies creativity to sustainable mobility projects, public administration and economy and social innovation. Between 2016 and 2019, he worked in creative management for Madrid City Council, and since May 2020 has been the creative director of Barcelona City Council.