est eng

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Soo

Heie Treier (1-2/2009)

Heie Treier writes about Tõnu Soo’s solo exhibition in Tallinn Art Hall Gallery 28.02.–8.03.2009 (curator Tõnu Kaalep)
 
This exhibition makes us ponder the phenomenon of the charismatic graphic designer. From 1971-1994, Tõnu Soo was the designer for Estonia’s premier cultural weekly. His Soviet-era designs for Sirp ja Vasar played an ideological role, but at a micro-level. The ideology for the front covers – the macro-level, so to speak – may have been dictated to the editorial staff, but as a designer Tõnu Soo could have his say from the standpoint of aesthetics. At a time when printing quality was poor and photographs were black and white (some of the pictures would be retouched by a mysterious hand, making them appear even uglier in order to harm the reputation of certain people), no one could quarrel with Tõnu Soo’s spirited typography. At the micro-level, it was following its own, independent policy – something that was typical in the conditions of censorship prevalent back then. The mass circulated issues of this popular cultural weekly impacted the way entire generations came to think about conscientious newspaper design. In retrospect, many of the graphic designers of the next generation, such as Ivar Sakk and the curator of this exhibition, Tõnu Kaalep, have acknowledged the influence of Soo’s work on their development.
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