The diploma thesis of Darjan Hardi, a recent graduate of the UMPRUM Studio of Illustration and Graphics, was selected for the international Graduation Projects 2020 competition.
Graduation Projects is not competitive in nature, it is a selection of the best graduate work. Originally, the show was intended only for Polish graduates. Since 2009/2010, it has gradually opened to other countries of the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary). The selection itself includes a wide range of graphic and industrial design, including textile design, fashion, glass, and ceramics.
In his diploma project, Darjan Hardi created a new visual postmodern version of the novel Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel in 100,000 Words by the Serbian writer Milorad Pavić.
"The work accompanies the reader through the complex world of the origin and demise of the Khazar nation. My goal was to create a redesign and a new visual language for this dictionary, which is supported by illustrations and will bring Milorad Pavić's world closer to the reader visually."
The book introduces its readers to the world of three religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and shows from their version the growth and fall of the Khazar kingdom. The new visual is inspired by symbols, metaphors, and folk tales, which the author uses to reconstruct and re-create the Khazar world. The reader is actively involved in the project, as well as in reading the experimental Serbian novel. Darjan Hardi managed to adjust and improve the world of the book by combining fiction and reality, just as Milorad Pavić worked with meaning within the text. For this reason, the book has another chapter, which includes pictures that document traces of Khazars in Serbia.