Dressed in Black extends out of the exhibition A Shelf for Lothar, staged in 2016 at the 27th Brno Biennial of Graphic Design. The book reproduces 115 jackets from the Spektrum series, the work of German designer and artist Lothar Reher (1932–2018).

Spektrum, published in East Berlin by Volk und Welt from 1968 to 1993, embodied the ideals of accessibility and inclusiveness epitomised by the wave of mid-twentieth century paperbacks, in their inherent simplicity and usability. And yet, despite its mass readership, the series’ dense monochrome imagery has an uneasy air of mystery, with often oblique relationship to the books’ contents.

Reher designed all but one of the series’ 279 titles, producing the photographic montages more or less single handedly. Recurring motifs such as skulls, faces, museological artefacts and spherical objects reveal a long-term visual grammar, with later books in the series often echoing back to earlier designs. These taxonomies formed the basis of the shelf display in Brno, and aim to gain insight into Reher’s distinctive interpretation of this considerable body of literature.

Dressed in Black extends out of the exhibition A Shelf for Lothar, staged in 2016 at the 27th Brno Biennial of Graphic Design. The book reproduces 115 jackets from the Spektrum series, the work of German designer and artist Lothar Reher (1932–2018).

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Edited and designed by
Wayne Daly & Adrien Vasquez
Precinct, London, 2017
220 × 145 mm, 176pp
ISBN 978-0-9569524-6-2
£12 + shipping

Contents

Minimal, Tradition.
On Writing, Reading and Paperbacks
Roland Früh

Brief Notes on the Art
and Manner of Exhibiting Books
Regine Ehleiter

A Shelf for Lothar

Spektrum, 1968–93

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© Precinct 2019
© Precinct 2019