Typesetting for SCORE FOR COVERAGE, 2023
11.35 × 5.58 m, 22.35 × 5.58 m, 11.35 × 5.58 m (RAL 6021)
Part of ‘Gift’ exhibition by Iris Touliatou at Kunsthalle Basel
The word ‘Gift’ has been used as a euphemism for “poison” since Old High German, a semantic loan from Late Latin dosis (“dose”), from Ancient Greek δόσις (dósis, “gift; dose of medicine”).
The ambiguity that exists within this word ‘Gift’ must undoubtedly have been derived from a long-term observation. The gods and occasionally humans are dotted with gifts, sometimes toxic and deathly, sometimes a beneficial, usually bitter, medicine, ensuring a long life. By contracting a Life Insurance with Kunsthalle Basel, naming the Swiss art institution’s body of members as the policy’s beneficiaries, Iris Touliatou examines the complex relationship between the artist and the institution, voicing intimate questions on risk, economic and emotional entanglements.
Typical Organization was humbled to do the typesetting of the artist’s reworked text derived from the contracted Life Insurance in the form of a mural. Being commissioned to do a mural in the monumental ‘painters room’ of Switzerland’s oldest and still most active institution for contemporary art (on walls that once exposed Typical heroes as Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger just to name some) seemed to us a Typical Gift that obviously can only be received with the same double feelings.
Our remedy as usual was to remain Typical as we opted to use Akzidenz-Grotesk as a Trojan horse-like vehicle of articulation, being both familiar and uncanny in this context. The iconic typeface that inspired the Swiss or International Design movement and Max Miedinger to craft Helvetica seems to carry the beauties and dangers of Modernity in a latent phase. As the original Simple Annual Life Insurance of Iris Touliatou was set in Arial we believed that Akzidenz, that used to be sold under the name Standard, remains on the threshold of what Helvetica and Arial would cross. It is this fragile balance between ‘groteskness’ and ‘elegance’ producing a kind of proper awkwardness fitting well with the SCORE FOR COVERAGE that is ultimately about fragility.
In the bond that Iris Touliatou wished to establish with the institution, it was imported that the text was embedded as a painted layer resisting time. By using the patina green (RAL 6021) that marks Kunsthalle Basel’s copper roof the color is acting as a metaphor of protection or coverage. SCORE FOR COVERAGE.
Iris Touliatou, SCORE FOR COVERAGE, 2023, Detail, in: Iris Touliatou, Gift, Kunsthalle Basel, 2023, Foto: Philipp Hänger /Kunsthalle Basel / Exhibition opening captured by Dominik Asche
SCORE FOR COVERAGE, 2023
Simple Annual Life Insurance (391), policy number 01729973, paint (RAL 6021) on wall in the artificial patina shade of Kunsthalle Basel’s roof
Dimension variable to match proportions of a given wall at any scale and/or in relation to funds determined by the exhibitor,
here: 11.35 × 5.58 m, 22.35 × 5.58 m, 11.35 × 5.58 m Graphic design by Typical. Organization for Standards & Order
All works courtesy the artist and Rodeo, London/Piraeus