Book review: Hidden Track: How Visual Culture Is Going Places

0whydidibuy.jpgHidden Track: How Visual Culture Is Going Places (amazon USAUK).

Editors‘ blurb: “Hidden Track” shows how contemporary visual culture is breaking out of the second dimension and printed form and entering into three-dimensional space, where it can be experienced. The book demonstrates how rooms are being occupied creatively and how items are being transformed. It presents the diverse exhibition possibilities that currently exist – a spectrum ranging from live painting to installations and 3D objects. At the same time the book illustrates how urban and street art have recently moved even further out of the subculture and are now being featured more often in galleries and museums worldwide. It analyses how these public art forms are being perceived in an international art context and investigates the fundamentally different forms of presentation that this new context demands. Through abundant images and incisive text “Hidden Track” also introduces the artists and exhibition spaces that are taking current visual culture out of the underground to the level of high culture.

I have no problem admitting that i’m superficial: i bought the volume for its cover. That’s another “easy reading, swiftly browsing” book. The kind that you leave on your living room table for guests to nicely flip through while you’re busy preparing dinner. As i’m never ever cooking anything, i just had to read the book myself. Not that there’s much to read as most of its pages are covered with pictures.

0gallerr3.jpgHidden Track demonstrates that works that come out of graphic design studios, advertising agencies or from the street have an extroardinary artistic quality. It does a great job at showing how graphic design, for example, springs out of the computer screen to invade galleries, hotel rooms and the windows of fashion boutiques.


It’s very young, trendy, pop culture, very cool hunting.

On the one hand this is great because i don’t have the time to try to be young and hip anymore so the book is a fantastic short-cut if you want to catch up with trends, talented illustrators and designers. All the works featured in the book are very eye-pleasing, without exception. I’m not sure that it is enough to turn some of them into art pieces though. But then i’m not an expert as an extract of the book confirms: Art-market experts predict that graphic design could be the next big trend after photography.

The book has been published over a year ago and it still feels so “today”: the graphics, motives and combinations of colours featured in the works are all around me: on design blogs, in shoe shops, on the pages of interior design magazines, on the walls of new organic restaurants, etc. (which incidently might indicate that they are already very “yesterday”) I just wonder how well the works and styles will age as time passes.

By the way, that so appealing cover is based on illustrations by eP.