vanadium-poster-science-gallery

Vanadium / Elements

One of my favorite writers when I was younger was Primo Levi, a survivor of Auschwitz and considered to be one of the great literary witnesses of the 20th century. Levi’s candor and sobering reportage has always been a huge inspiration for me and so when I was invited by Trinity Science Gallery to produce a poster for their show Elements I immediately turned to Levi’s story Vanadium, which can be found in his book of short stories: The Periodic Tables. In his story, Levi describes how, working as a chemist in the aftermath of the war, he came across a German resin manufacturer whom he had known during his time in Auschwitz. In the written story, what ensues is a tense correspondence between the two men, Levi expressing his anger; the German supplier assuming an arrogant and unrepentant position. In reality however, this is not how things played out. Through my research I discovered that Levi was not as candid as I had once assumed instead he was a master story teller, favouring narrative over actual facts. Ironically, when I was designing this poster I was exploring the notion of spiritual forgiveness, words emitted from the darkness, and I was also trying to find a way of relating sound to print, something I had previously explored with my work with Metronoids. Both the graphic and the dialogue that appears in the poster represent Levi’s actual voice, taken from a BBC interview in which he shares what really happened between himself and the German resin manufacturer.

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