Revolution 99-09 is an exhibition of Portuguese graphic and product design. Gathering around 190 projects by over 70 designers and studios, it affords an overview of the country’s production through over 400 assembled works.
Framed by a defined time span, this retrospective proposes a individual and non-exhaustive curatorial outlook, as it presents one of the many possible views on Portuguese design of the last decade. Without ever seeking to identify or define an idea of “national design”, it seeks above all to invite reflection and debate on the existence of languages and methodologies that are specific to the country’s geographic and cultural context, acknowledging and celebrating its vitality.
Revolution 99-09 combines two distinct fields within the exhibition itinerary.
Resorting to variety of typologies, materials and scales, it reflects many of the conceptual explorations and concerns that have inspired Portuguese product designers. Side by side, prototypes, one-offs and limited editions as well as pieces for serial production feature are featured.
Some common denominators can be identified from the outset, namely social and economic issues connected to industrial production, as well as their cultural and environmental impact; the merge between handcraft heritage, contemporary design thinking and market demands, and a keen sense of humour and playfulness.
In graphic design, the panorama is as heterogeneous as it is rich in vocabularies, formats and contexts. The increase in flow and intensity registered in visual communication along the last decade has led to a surge in messages and resources deployed by companies, State and private institutions and small independent agents, most notably in the cultural field. In graphic design, the exhibition’s curatorial perspective does not include work developed by advertising agencies; rather, it focuses on more experimental designers that pursue a manifestly author-driven work. Together with wide-distribution pieces such as posters, invitations, brochures or examples of editorial design, Revolution 99-09 features packaging and font design, areas in which Portuguese designers have gained prominence in recent years.
The exhibition’s narrative is organizes by author, without orchestrating a dialogue between product and graphic design works. In the specifically-developed website, and so as to allow for different takes and approaches on the curatorial selection, two itineraries are presented – one identically to the display at Palácio Quintela and the other sorting both bodies of work – graphic and product – by each of the 10 years that compose the timeline of Revolution 99-09.
For experimentadesign, curating and producing Revolution 99-09 is a way of marking the 10th anniversary of EXD Biennale in Lisbon and, above all, of celebrating the pulsating dynamic and significance of Portuguese design.
ABOUT REVOLUTION 99-09