Mark Batty Publisher, New York 2006. 96 pp. 4to (31,5 x 26 cm). Laminated, printed boards. Illustrated in colour. Copy as new.
Blackletter, known also as Gothic miniscule, originated in Europe near the end of the 12th century. Transported from Europe to the New World, blackletter was subtly reshaped by indigenous influences. No better is this illustrated than in Mexico.
The blackletter that adorns countless small stores, shops and service providers throughout the country has a wholly Mexican twist, catering to the everyday needs of ordinary people, from cobblers to doctors. More than simply a form of signage, Mexican blackletter is a valuable gloss on contemporary Mexican culture.
Inspired by her time living and working in Mexico City, Cristina Paoli has investigated how this distinctive letterform exists in Mexico today. Through numerous colourful photographs of signage, tattoos, posters, and car detailing, along with insightful text, Mexican Blackletter establishes why blackletter is so popular in Mexico, and why this popularity reveals a cultural essence.
Blackletter enhances written messages, converting them into elegant and transcendental discourses, regardless of the environment in which it is used. In markets and food stalls or on streets, walls, trucks and taxis, regardless of whether it is drawn on cloth, skin, an old metal plate or a piece of cardboard, blackletter has the ability to make known that which cannot be easily verbalized: history and how history manifests in the present.
Mexican Blackletter presents the opportunity to engage in this dialogue with the vast and varied hand-letterers working in and around Mexico City. Read their work, study the differences, appreciate the craftsmanship, and come to understand a very real facet of Mexico and Mexicans that transcends typography.