This page is brought to you in partnership with the Moravian Gallery in Brno. The second largest art museum in the Czech Republic, it is exceptional for the wide range of artistic disciplines it covers. It is the only institution in the coutry collecting visual art that is concerned with paintig, drawing, graphic art and sculptore - from the past and the present - as well as photography, applied art and design.
History of the Brno Biennial
Inaugurated in 1963, the International Biennial of Graphic Design in Brno is one of the oldest and most important events in the field of visual communication in the world.
Behind the birth of the Brno Biennial lay the cultural and political détente in the 1960s which served as a backdrop to the striving of Czechoslovak artists and designers for the right to artistic freedom, a precondition of which was seen in the opportunity to juxtapose their own graphic designs with works from around the globe. The generation of the founding fathers of the Brno Biennial included the Brno painter and graphic artist Jan Rajlich the elder, and the art theorists Jiří Hlušička and Karel Holešovský.
In 1964 the Moravian Gallery in Brno held the First Czechoslovak Showcase of Poster and Promotional Graphic Art which from 1966 continued with cyclical international exhibitions aiming to embrace the whole spectrum of the graphic design domain. The original structure of the Biennial rotated three exhibition streams but in 1968 the highly specialized exhibition design was waived due to the great demands it made on the organisers. Beginning with 1970 the Brno Biennial alternated two basic themes: Poster, Corporate, Information and Advertising Graphic Design and Graphic Design and Type in Books, Magazines, Newspapers and Digital Media.
In its history the list of participants in the Brno Biennial has featured many outstanding graphic designers who either presented their work in exhibitions or took part in person as members of international juries and lecturers at the accompanying international symposium. Among the graphic design luminaries present in either capacity in Brno are such names as Saul Bass, Roman Cieślewicz, Wim Crouwel, Alan Fletcher, Adrian Frutiger, Shigeo Fukuda, Milton Glaser, Ivan Chermayeff, Seymour Chwast, Mitsuo Katsui, Herb Lubalin, Ladislav Sutnar, Josef Týfa, Tadanori Yokoo, Hermann Zapf and others.
For more than five decades the Brno Biennial has provided an acclaimed international platform in Central Europe for exhibitions, discussions and collateral events covering the dynamically developing discipline of graphic design and its importance in forming present day visual culture.
Innovating the Brno Biennial 2014
In 2014 a number of changes were introduced on the occasion of the 26th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno. It was the first time that the Brno Biennial had an umbrella theme – “Graphic Design, Education and Schools”. As a result the international competition exhibition, a traditional component of the Biennial, only accepted student’s works while output by professionals which had been assessed in the past years was for once set aside.
Throughout, the Biennial was complimented by a novelty called the OFF programme, conceived as an open space for workshops, interventions and other types of presentation of the discipline. Also for the first time the Biennial as a whole had as its curators three internationally renowned graphic designers: Tomáš Celizna, Adam Macháček and Radim Peško.
That the steps taken in the new direction were successful was confirmed both by the overall visitor numbers which reached a record 39 618 entries, an increase of almost nine thousand on the previous event (30 762 entries), and the feedback from abroad as well as various awards – such as the Czech Grand Design prix announced by the Czech Design Academy, awarded in the “Graphic Designer of the Year” category to the three curators of the 26th International Biennial Brno for its concept and corporate design.
The Moravian Gallery in Brno, which is the organiser of the International Biennial of Graphic Design, will continue this successful cooperation in preparing the next Brno Biennial taking place in 2016.