'Pierre Faucheux’s Lines of Flight', research from Catherine Guiral @RCA Critical Writing

Focusing primarily on French graphic design of the early 1950s onwards, Catherine Guiral's research is an historical study interrogating the transformation and meaning of graphic design practices in relation to the concepts of the out-of-field and deterritorialization.

The history of French graphic design is often one in which lines have been marked off quite strongly, echoing the late Gilles Deleuze’s lignes dures (molar lines) that advocate for disciplined and expected paths. This ‘regime of the framed’ inscribes graphic design and its history in the linear and the visible. Yet, as Deleuze explains in Mille Plateaux, there is also the possibility for deterritorialization, a more intuitive and nomadic drift. Here, deterritorialization is a line of flight from territory to territory. Thus a territory that once appeared geographically and historically framed can begin to reveal its unseen out-of-field.

By looking at the largely forgotten figure of French graphic designer Pierre Faucheux (1924-1999), this research tests the hypothesis that the mutation and migrations of French graphic design at that point are drawing lines of escape from a conventional territory framed by definitions that have perhaps limited its horizon. The idea of a pre-determined territory with traditional limits however takes into account the basic fact that its conventionality is the very paradoxical reason for its creativity.

As Jean-Loup Bourget notes: «[…] whenever an art form is highly conventional, the opportunity for subtle irony or distantiation presents itself all the more readily». It is this creativity that her research addresses: a creativity whose form might be understood as deterritorialization, a concept-metaphor drawn from Deleuze. She expands this creativity to serve as an analytical tool to understand and read the mutations and migrations that have shaped the work of Faucheux in France in the postwar decades.

Catherine Guiral also curated a 3-weeks long exhibition on the work of Faucheux at the Centre Pompidou. Read more: RCA Critical Writing