Almir Mavignier Obituary
He encapsulated concrete art. This is to be taken literally, because his stylistic device was the point that expands both onto the surface and into the room. This meant that his pictures could be easily recognised, but also that he did not create a stylistic school. Almir Mavignier, the Ulm School graphic designer and artist, born in Brazil, who worked in Hamburg for a long period of time, died on 3 September 2018.
Mavignier was one of the founders of the group of concrete artists formed in 1948 in Rio de Janeiro, one of the first students at the Ulm School of Design and thus, together with Alexander Wollner and Mary Vieira, one of the small group of Brazilian designers who brought early international recognition for the Ulm Kuhberg outside of Europe. This was also noted in an article in issue 13/1956 of Brigitte magazine, which mainly focused on Ulm and its female students but also on the student Mavignier. The graphic designer was very impressed by Max Bill’s personality and versatility, and repeatedly emphasised that Bill did not only draw attention to his own importance at the time, but also the achievements of others such as Richard Paul Lohse. In the disputes over the right direction for Ulm to take, which led to Bill’s departure, Mavignier was too reticent. He painted, had early contact with the Zero Group and the Yugoslavian “exact tendencies” and also success in communications graphics. It was in this area that Mavignier designed many posters for the contemporary art exhibition Studio F in Ulm. His search for characteristic details, the pars pro toto, has its starting point here.
In 1965, he was appointed professor in Hamburg and reached a large audience through stamp designs, among other things. His stance of not perceiving free and applied design as a contradiction was acknowledged, for example, by the Stankowski Prize. His life’s work has been exhibited in major retrospectives, such as the Essen Poster Museum (1981) and the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt (2004). Those who knew him will miss his quiet friendliness, which was accompanied by certainty in his subject and his willingness to help. What remains is the pleasure we can derive from his work.