The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
The curator Miguel Arroyo wrote the introduction to the book Sin Arco by the graphic designer Gerd Leufert. In his text, Arroyo reviews the idea of the “arrow” from its symbolic content to its graphic connotation including a discussion of the image of the arrow throughout history. To the critic, the signs created by Leufert were not conceived for the practical world, but were for a four-dimensional geography governed by our individual imaginations.
This text by museum designer, critic, and curator Miguel Arroyo (1920–2004) offers a full, well-organized review of the historical and symbolic meanings of “the arrow” as a sign. This discussion serves as an introduction to the book Sin arco by the graphic designer Gerd Leufert (1914–1998). This book is one in a series of books by the artist in which Leufert’s design work, in the purest sense of the term, becomes the protagonist. They include Nenias (1969), Marcas (1970), and Sin arco (1971). Arroyo uses Leufert’s visual explorations as a pretext for proposing a game in which we question—tying this to the specific case of “the arrow”—which came first: essence or existence. He admits that he finds the artist’s approach to design problems severe, and with that statement, he validates any visual exercise possible. In other words, Leufert’s work is apparently useless, related to the artist’s desire to abandon function as the basic principle of the design. Writing with minute precision, the curator bases his text on reason, although he gives ample play to emotion. This becomes clear when he concludes his “brief disquisition,” pointing out that the arrows shown in this book serve no function in any territory known on earth. On the contrary, they operate in a sphere in which the imagination rules creatively and erratically. At this point, any logical exercise proposed for understanding Leufert’s explorations fades away. Instead, what is opened up to the viewer is an infinite universe of possibilities. For other critical texts on Leufert’s work, see the ICAA digital archive: by Alfredo Chacón, “Visibilia en el punto neutro de la figuración” (doc. no. 1160567); by Alfredo Armas Alfonso, “Imposibilia” (doc. no. 1155825); as well as the essay by Lourdes Blanco, “Los carteles de Gerd Leufert: enero-febrero 1991” (doc. no. 1155909).