Alexander Girard Exhibit

A friend and I recently went to the Alexander Girard exhibit at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

An interesting part of the exhibit was a display area about his time in boarding school when he invented an imaginary country - the Republic of Fife. "He spent all of his free time designing maps, flags, currency and coins, postage stamps, and games as well as developing a range of secret languages and codes that he also used to communicate with his family. In Girard's imagination, the Republic of Fife, whose name he had borrowed from the Scottish county of Fife, was part of a larger empire known as Celestia. Other parts of Celestia were "given" to his parents , his sister Lezlie, and his brother Giancarlo.
At its core, the Republic of Fife displays the same characteristics that would later define Girard's work as a designer: his faschination with other cultures, his interest in design as a means of communications, his ability to create imaginary worlds, and his love detail."

This section of the exhibit displayed stacks of composition books filled with the language of Fife, maps, coats of arms, and postage stamp designs. There were also painted rocks that he used as coins and a hand made deck of cards and board came with hand drawn playing pieces. It was a superb collection from his time at boarding school.

I was impressed with the variety of artifacts on display in the entire exhibit. There were some of his early creations along with the preliminary sketches .

One room was filled with many textile designs.

The exhibit continues into other rooms displaying an astounding variety of his creations as well as some of his own folk art collection from which he drew inspiration. 

I am eager to see the exhibit again. One visit was just not enough to absorb all that was on display.