If you're bored of the visual communications we typically see day to day, here's a fresh and exciting approach you may want to explore. The UQAM Centre de Design in Montreal is presenting Non conforme – The Underground Universe of Elzo Durt and Sébastien Lépine, a selection of posters from two emerging graphic artists. Conceived by curator and professor emeritus Marc H. Choko, the exhibition introduces the public to the work of two poster designers who studied graphic design before embarking on a practice inspired by their love of music. The works of both these artists, with similar backgrounds, break the constraints of archetypical conformity taught in schools. Addressing an informed public, their posters flaut the criteria of perfect readability, opting instead for a rich abundance of imagery and underground graphic references. "Their posters express a universe unto itself, reflecting urban
nocturnal culture – its concerts, its more or less legal substances – with a rebellious aesthetic peculiar to the counterculture," says Marc H. Choko.
Sébastien Lépine studied graphic design at UQAM (BA Graphic Design 2001). His style, mixing photographic elements, frames, traces of colour, transparencies and overlays, is marked by continual experimentation and a quest for depth. His experiments play with the superimposition of colours, the decomposition of the image and the multiplication of planes.
Originally from Brussels, Elzo Durt studied there at the École de Recherche Graphique. His posters comprise borrowings, collages and (often incongruous) juxtapositions, in a multicoloured palette, infused with psychedelic and punk influences. Highly recognizable, they have been featured in numerous exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Durt also creates album and magazine covers and develops visuals for skateboard, snowboard and clothing brands.
Lépine and Durt are part of a contemporary movement of poster artisanswho usually print their own works on silkscreen, in limited editions, and offer them for sale online or at music festivals and events dedicated to underground graphics. Some of these excellent, rare posters quickly become collector’s items.
Marc H. Choko is a professor emeritus at the UQAM School of Design, where he has taught since 1977. He is also an author, lecturer and curator. He is a lover of posters, which he has collected since the mid-1960s. Since the early 1980s, he has been organizing exhibitions, including several as curator, and publishing a number of books.
Non conforme – The Underground Universe of Elzo Durt and Sébastien Lépine runs from September 6th - 23rd, 2018 at Centre de Design UQAM, Montreal.