New Types of Shakespeare, 14 Mar – 21 May 2016, presents some of Shakespeare’s best-known lines in typographical settings by staff and students in the Graphic Design department at Middlesex University. Well-known and sometimes overlooked lines from the sonnets, the plays and even famous stage directions –’Exit, pursued by a bear’ – have inspired works that search for meaning and impact in expressive type, rather than imagery.
Shakespeare texts transformed into expressive type include sonnet 30 (“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought”), 60 (“Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore”) and 135 (“Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will”) and lines from All’s Well That Ends Well (“But with the word the time will bring on summer…”), Coriolanus (“What is the city but the people?”) and Henry V (“For oaths are straws…”), plus many, many more. Suggestions of lines came from Alison Brackenbury, Gerry Byrne and David Wheatley.
“We have students from 140 countries on our programmes. It’s been really enjoyable to reconnect these young people with the work of Shakespeare and see their typographic responses to the words,” says Phil Healey, Head of Department for Visual Arts in the School of Art and Design at Middlesex University. “I was in Heathrow Airport recently and they played a techno version of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’, followed by ‘Greensleeves’, a song reputedly written by Henry VIII. In a similar way our exhibition is a mix of old and new, like a modern interpretation of a Shakespeare play or a hip hop version of a ‘Ring a Ring o’ Roses’.”
A celebratory opening event was held in the Poetry Café on Wednesday 16 March. For a gallery of photos from the opening, see below.
The exhibition is one of a series of events commemorating Shakespeare 400 – the four-hundredth year since the death of Shakespeare on 23 April 1616.
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