When the English designer Robin Fior came to Lisbon, in 1973, to join the cooperative design group PRAXIS, he could not imagine that the Carnation Revolution would take place just one year later. Robin quickly became an active participant in the Portuguese cultural and political scene and was involved in the creation of graphic images for the Movement of Socialist Left (MES) and propaganda for the Anti-Colonial Information and Documentation Centre (CIDAC) and governmental organisations.
For a select group of Portuguese design professionals and students, Robin is a cult figure, associated with an idiosyncratic and cosmopolitan graphic experimentalism, closely linked to the teaching and creation of the school of visual arts AR.CO.
Even back in London, in the 1960s, the politically engaged work of this self-taught designer, graphically more Swiss than swinging sixties, had earned him the attention and recognition of his peers, with his participation in key moments in the history of English design, like the signing of First Things First manifesto and the exhibition Typography in Britain Today.
The posters for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the design of the first issues of the underground leftist newspaper Black Dwarf and the covers of the magazine International Socialism are good examples of the Spartan typographical rigour and peculiar linguistic humour that characterise his graphic work.
Robin Fior’s personal collection from his period in Portugal was recently donated to the Foundation’s Art Library. It is the starting point for this exhibition, which presents a selection of objects designed by him, in England and Portugal, between the 1960s and 1980s. These objects are accompanied by comments from other designers, architects and writers, who were involved in the history of their production.
Curator: Ana Baliza
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Av. de Berna 45 A