The visual thread that weaves itself through the artist Edgar Orlaineta’s works is something we can certainly appreciate. Born and based in Mexico City, Orlaineta’s range of influences, which spans Charles and Ray Eames to Alexander Calder, Alexander Girard and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, are united by their iconic graphic language that he then uses to articulate the everyday details and cultural perspectives of modern life.
From intricately worked sculptures to colourful, eye-catching canvases, Orlaineta’s taste for design and art history infuses each of his pieces with an energetic sensibility. His latest body of work, which is newly available at RH Contemporary Art, riffs on Incantation, a series of abstracted, figurative hieroglyphics designed by the American graphic and typeface designer Alvin Lustig in 1947. Lustig, a pioneering figure in the design world, who is oft overlooked due to his death from diabetes at age 40, produced books, signage and fabrics. Rumour has it that he designed the iconic first cover of Industrial Design magazine in 1954 when already completely blind.
Employing artisanal printing methods, Orlaineta has produced screenprints of Lustig’s geometric pattern on brightly coloured raw linen and added brass-clad signets of certain motifs to bring a new dimensionality to the textiles. Orlaineta, who studied art at Mexico City’s Escuela Nacional and the Pratt Institute in New York, has also created a series of wood and brass sculptures inspired by Lustig’s book jacket designs. Each work is paired with an original Lustig-designed book as a fitting homage to his graphic design legacy.