Design of typography and signage for the painted wall text 'United States of America' by artist Jens Haaning – The Walter and McBean Galleries of the San Francisco Art Institute.
Jens Haaning's exhibition titled 'United States of America and Other Stories', looked into the points of contact between the personal and the political via dramatic yet simple conceptual art works.
The main space was occupied by a single work, 'United States of America', consisting only of the words of its title painted large in black type across the wall of the rectangle room.
Viewers are dwarfed by the text, forced to look up at its immensity, which radiates a sense of political omnipotence. Yet the work itself has no physical presence, leaving the gallery empty and essentially devoid of any tangible physical effect upon the world. Haaning’s presentation, then, highlights the friction between an abstract political idea and the concrete realities of the lived world.
Haaning has also placed country names on many walls in many other different countries. The country names are always spelt in their native spelling. The works trigger different reactions based on the respective countries’ relationship to its history. This work and the works that would follow it were only shown in their respective countries.
A typeface was designed for this purpose. The primary objective in the typeface design was to create anonymity – a typeface free from any cultural connections or connotations and so in that sense impressionable only by the observers perception.