Arsenale 2012


The First Kyiv Biennale of Contemporary Art opens to the public today. To celebrate this momentous achievement we’re showcasing a selection of our designs for Arsenale 2012.

The visual identity is structured around 4 Hubs devised by the Artistic Director David Elliott:
1. The Restless Spirit / 2. In the Name of Order / 3. Flesh / 4. The Unquiet Dream



The Restless Spirit Looks at the way in which we derive strength from beliefs, myths and concepts of the universe that are not governed by material need.
In the Name of Order Examines how under the pretext of rationalism power attempts to dominate culture through the creation of self-serving hierarchies.
Flesh Takes the human body, its appetites, desires and limitations as its central theme.
The Unquiet Dream Focuses on nightmares and premonitions of disaster, without which we are unable to change.



Rather than a fixed logo, the design employs a bespoke open source typeface that reflects the international scope and diverse array of art represented at the Arsenale. MA Vujade draws in alternative letterforms, analphabetic characters, icons and symbols from DejaVu (custom versions of which are being developed for the Arsenale and Mystetskyi Arsenal’s visual identity systems) to create a typeface that cycles through a selected glyph palette for each character in both Latin and Cyrillic causing the tone of the text change as it’s typed. This will become an open source project whereby the public can download and edit the code and add to the glyph palette, creating a creative dialogue between the festival and it’s visitors.



Echoing the first words of A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Charles Dickens’ famous novel set at the time of the French Revolution, this exhibition jumps forward to the present to consider how contemporary art and aesthetics use the past to express the future. The ideals of Human Rights developed during 18th Century European Enlightenment found their first political expression in the American and French Revolutions. Combining ideology with action, these initiated a continuing wave of national uprisings that still continue to form the world. Yet in spite of good intentions Human Rights have been constricted and each revolution has contained at its core the worst as well as the best of human thought and action. This exhibition reflects on utopian dreams of freedom, equality, and security that are very much at the heart of our lives today, as well as on their opposite: terror, inequity and war. It is the destructive forces of both man and nature that seem to make a more ideal life impossible.



In addition to the identity for Arsenale 2012 we’ve developed a visual language system for the festival’s first discussion platform Art After the End of the World . The design draws inspiration from the notion of a dialogue: multiple points of view overlapping and engaging with one another. Conceived to be clear, contemporary and focused. The aesthetic acknowledges recent protests and uprisings that saw people utilise technology to unite and overthrow dominant systems of power.

Arsenale 2012 runs until the 30th of July at the Mystetskyi Arsenal – Kyiv’s new National Cultural-Art and Museum Complex. The museum occupies the Old Arsenal building, an architectural monument of national importance, which was erected between 1783–1801 under the project of Lieutenant-General Ivan (Johann) Meller within the area of the Old Pecherska fortress, which was built on the site of Voznesensky Dievichy convent. During 1683–1707 the monastery hegumene was Maria-Magdalyna Mazepyna – hetman Mazepa’s mother – whose activity led the convent to its period of the bloom. During 1701–1705 at the expense of hetman and his mother a magnificent stone temple had been erected in place of the wooden Voznesenska church, also the Pokrovy Bohorodytsi church had been rebuilt into stone.


Mystetskyi Arsenal has ambition’s to become one of the world’s largest museum and exhibition spaces. We’re currently working on their visual identity (below).