This is the work of Christiana Couceiro, a collagist living and working in Portugal...
I know little about her but started to notice her work many months ago, intrigued by the familiarity of the many elements used in her pieces. At first I thought that the examples I was seeing had been exhumed from a dusty graphic archive buried deep within a cave in Switzerland. Then I spotted a 60s Pelican book cover, or rather three quarters of it, the other quarter being a fused element from unrelated pieces of also familiar 20th Century graphics.
This got me thinking about the appeal of the work. Was it Couceiro’s juxtaposition of disparate elements or was it the trigger of the original creators that was so seductive (to me at any rate)? And it reinforced my belief that although ideas based graphic design is the bee’s knees, the style of a piece can be equally as seductive. Never was this so clear to me when I was judging at D&AD in the 80s. A handful of works was put to the graphics jury by the then relatively unknown Studio Dunbar. The work was eccentric, baffling, and disparate but above all exciting. Within a few months the ‘Dutch style’ had infected the UK like an outbreak of swine flu. The work was totally style driven and it didn’t matter a hoot because everyone loved it. And that influence continued until the next outbreak of graphic fever, which came in the guise of 8vo, a small dedicated group of typographic anoraks whose first love appeared to be Swiss train timetables and technical literature. Everything they produced looked as if you would need an engineering degree to understand it. Once again it enthused the graphic community, lit a bush fire and imitators sprouted from every nook and cranny.
Eventually UK work settled into a regurgitated 60s Swiss/German style that hasn’t moved much for the last 15 years. The organic freeing up that I witnessed in the late 60s and early 70s with Push Pin Studios is again being replicated and I sometimes have real flashes of deja vu. That is why I am so taken by Couceiro’s offerings, because rather than imitate a style that has gone before, she simply cannibalises it wholesale with seemingly no concern about copyright or crediting the works’ originators.
So we are confronted with cocktails of Tschichold, Brockmann, ULM, Lubalin, Rand and many other leading lights of graphic design of the 40s, 50s and 60s all at once triggering echoes of graphic history for us to unravel.
It is rather akin to the hip hop world of music sampling, appropriating directly to create something new.