Fanette Mellier, a swinging exhibition

From 17 November until 16 December 2017, the first ever retrospective exhibition of the work of Fanette Mellier, an independent graphic designer specialized in editorial design, is taking place at the Charles-Gautier-Hermeland Media Library in Saint-Herblain (near Nantes). With this article, let me open for you the doors of an exhibition to discover, for all editorial design enthusiasts.

exhibition exposition Fanette Mellier

Fanette Mellier is a French graphic designer, who graduated in 2000 from the School of Decorative Arts of Strasbourg. She first worked for the graphic design studio founded by Pierre Bernard and became an independent graphic designer in 2005. Specialized in printed graphics, she often responds to atypical orders, in the cultural field: cultural institutions, foundations and publishing houses. In parallel with this work, she is involved in experimental projects in the context of residencies, "carte blanche" and exhibitions. Typography and Editorial design teacher at ENSAD, Fanette Mellier gives talks on graphic design all over the world. Her approach can be defined as a poetic exploration of industrial printing techniques, echoing the intellectual, cultural and social context of each project. It is therefore a chance and a real pleasure to be able to go to the first retrospective exhibition of her work which showcases posters but also works made in various contexts (commissions, residencies, personal projects).

generalife gardens granada alhambra

The strength of this exhibition lies in the diversity of projects shown both in terms of subjects and the design and shaping of objects. Whether it is a poster or a book, we notice how much Fanette Mellier elaborates a complete answer to a given subject, by thinking and mastering each participating element of the whole: concept, layout, typography, image, color (an important element of her graphic language), paper, format, binding, printing ... Care is brought to every detail thus creating complete and coherent projects revealing the engagement of a graphic designer in the enhancement of the text. The quality of the shaping and printing of her projects is the result of long-standing collaborations with paper manufacturers and also printers such as Lézard Graphique, where each project is an opportunity to take on new challenges and where, sometimes, 4, 6, 8 offset overlays are required to achieve the desired rendering. It is interesting to see how far we can push the technical limits when a relationship of trust and good intelligence is established between graphic designers and printers / manufacturers. It should also be noted, in the age of "Top Chef" and other "The Voice", that her posters for the Frac Aquitaine are co-signed Fanette Mellier / Lézard Graphique, a beautiful proof of humility, which de facto place the manufacturer in a peer-to-peer relationship.

jardin infi book design garden

Infinite garden for the Center Pompidou Metz. On the jacket of the book, a photograph of the garden of Giverny is reproduced with a green filter while the title appears in cutouts whose forms were recovered and slipped into the book, like a herbarium.

jardin infi book design garden pages

Like every work displayed in the main room of the exhibition, Jardin infini is available for consultation and manipulable at leisure.

Echoing Swing, the title of the exhibition evoking movement and rhythm, both synonyms of the work of composition, Pernelle Poyet imagined for this exhibition, a moving scenery made of rocking furnitures and colorful magnets. Some works are displayed on hanging shelves or on arches, swinging in reaction to the passage of visitors. To illustrate this notion of movement again, Fanette Mellier imagined a typography, which can be seen on the posters and in 3D in the room where each letter can switch on one side or the other. The posters on the wall are, for their part, hung with large pieces of geometric and colorful wood magnets. This hanging system aims to resonate with the poster without denaturing it as other systems could. Finally, each work of the exhibition in the main room is manipulable, allowing the public to appreciate the objects in their smallest details (typography, paper, binding, printing, etc.).

typeface exhibition nantes saint herblain fanette mellier


typeface exhibition nantes saint herblain fanette mellier

Example of rocking furniture presenting works.

posters frac aquitaine magnets exposition

Posters for the FRAC Aquitaine maintained by the colored hanging system.

The book below, Bastard Battle, is one of my many favorites of the exhibition. For this book, Fanette Mellier sought to express the energy and the surprising aspect of this writing inspired by references ranging from the Middle Ages to manga through kung fu. Each spread offers the reader a text that literally comes to life from the central fold. Depending on the passages of the story, the typography becomes mutant both in appearance and color thanks to a game on different layers of direct tones (pink, yellow, blue). These interventions on the very appearance of words and sentences occur as the book unfold, creating dynamics, rhythm and life within the book.

close up details book festival chaumont livre editorial design

Bastard Battle, a book by Céline Minard-Éditions Dissonances / Pôle graphics of the City of Chaumont, 2008, realized during a residency.

Beyond this main space of the exhibition, other works are also visible in showcases in the reading rooms, accompanied by sketchbooks where Fanette Mellier notes her ideas, inspirations, projects. There are writings, sketches, sometimes extracts of Pantone color chart revealing the design process of an editorial project. In addition, as part of this exhibition, Fanette Mellier has made a selection of works and works by artists who have influenced her work and are available at the media library. As you can see, it is difficult to summarize such a rich exhibition or to present each of these projects. It is for this reason that I invite the public in general as well as students in visual communication and design professionals in particular, to visit this exhibition which gives a pride of place to the book.

gif art books editorial

By Thierry Fétiveau – February, 2018. All rights reserved.

Further reading:
Fanette Mellier website
La bilbiothèque
Saint Herblain city

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