One fine day back in 1966 marked the birth of the International Poster Biennale, the largest and most prestigious event dedicated to poster art in the world. Starting June 11, the 25th edition of the biennial event will celebrate this anniversary in a spectacular manner, with an exhibition entitled The Poster Remediated, taking place this whole summer in the Polish capital of Warsaw. Curated by David Crowley, professor at London’s Royal College of Art, the show will emphasize the evergreen and unique visual and social aspect of posters, which are still relevant despite the constant pressure from modern times and the digital technologies. The Poster Biennale will, as always, also be accompanied by a competition in which a variety of artists was invited to redesign classic poster designs, as well as a special retrospective of the event from 1966 to 2014, arranged by curator Zdzisław Schubert at Salon Akademii, the gallery of Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts.
The Everlasting Importance and Influence of Posters
From Georges Méliès’ iconic Les Offices en Goguette – hilarious posters, in which figures from various posters come alive and interact with each other, to the latest urban interventions that keep the poster culture alive over a century later, the art of posters has always been a part of our society. Related to politics and current world events to advertising and art, they continue to carry important messages while making people’s voices heard, even though it might have looked like the electronic communication and the Internet could interfere with their integrity. The Poster Remediated exhibition will explore the relationship between posters and other fields of creativity and dialogue and show the multimedia side of this medium that is not strictly limited to works on paper. The show also includes monumental reconstructions of poster-based decorations, smartphone apps that transform ads into artworks, documentations of artistic activity and animations of classic posters, awarded in the past editions.
The Poster Remediated
Historically speaking, posters have been a part of almost every big social shift across the planet. Throughout the exhibition, there will be many examples demonstrating this fact, such as There Is No Way Like the American Way, a propaganda graphic glorifying the American style of life that became a symbol of the Great Depression. Based on the 1937 LIFE magazine photograph of flood victims in Ohio standing in front of a local crisis center waiting for food and clothing, the image followed by the “World’s Highest Standard of Living” slogan went viral, and has been parodied over the years through different forms of art and Pop culture, including Tristan Eaton’s mural in Long Beach, California.
Many other historic posters are also included, such as the “I Am a Man” writing carried by black workers on strike in Memphis in 1968. The show will review the way posters were included in the mass demonstrations after Charlie Hebdo and November 2015 attacks in Paris, or the ones which took place in Ukraine’s Kiev, both of which produced the now iconic slogans and pictures that the participants carried in form of paper signs. Don’t miss out on a selection of archival footage from countries like Syria, Egypt, Iran or the US, which document painted-over, remade or ruined political and propaganda posters. Finally, the exhibition highlights the importance of advertising and all its means, through the works of Vermibus, Jordan Seiler and the Brandalism collective, whose works we know and admire all too well. The artists will also visit Warsaw during the Poster Biennale.
Exhibiting Latest Designs
Apart from the seminal works mentioned above, the Biennale in Poland is featuring designs by prominent artists from around the globe, as part of their tradition. The 2016 edition will showcase works by Louis Cameron (USA), Wilhelm “Wim” Crouwel (Netherlands), Nicolas Damiens (France), Jürgen Haufe (Germany), Jean Jullien (France), Eustachy Kossakowski (Poland), Werner Kranwetvogel (Germany), Silvio Lorusso (Italy), Marcin Mroszczak (Poland), Tomasz Sarnecki (Poland), Dread Scott (USA), Hito Steyerl (Germany/USA), Tadeusz Trepkowski (Poland), Ernest C. Withers (USA), and the aforementioned Jordan Seiler, Vermibus and the Brandalism group.
Also on view, the finalists of The Poster Remediated competition. By reanimating classic posters such as Milton Glaser’s Dylan or Finn Nygaard’s Save the Human Rights, the participants give them a contemporary look and a personal interpretation as a kind of homage to their great impact and legacy. Out of nearly 400 submissions handed in by 240 people this year, the jury committee selected ten best animations, all of which will be included in the main exhibition. Two main prizes were awarded to Mateusz Kokot, for the animation of Marion Diethelm’s Text, Buchtabe, Bild and to Tomasz Sroka, for the re-invention of Alain Le Quernec’s Attention. Au Début Hitler Fasait Rire.
The Poster Remediated, an innovative poster exhibition for the 50th anniversary of the International Poster Biennale
The 25th International Poster Biennale Warsaw
The 25th International Poster Biennale, accompanied by The Poster Remediated exhibition, will take place at the Poster Museum at Wilanów in Warsaw, Poland from June 11 through September 25, 2016. The Tip of a Paper Tower of Babel – The International Poster Biennale in Warsaw 1966 – 2014 show will be held at the Salon Akademii between June 10 and July 31, 2016. From July 1 to 15, the center of the city will host a curated selection of artworks presented as part of the Warexpo urban gallery. This showcase includes Lightboxes along Świętokrzyska street (between Nowy Świat and Marszałkowska) and video screens at the interchange between the two lines of the Metro will display works by remarkable artists, award winners of the past editions, such as Kiyoshi Awazu, Hans Hillman, Jan Lenica, Gunter Rambow, Ralph Schraivogel, Henryk Tomaszewski, Andy Warhol and Tadanori Yokoo. The exhibition is curated by Jacek Szelegejd. On September 25 at The Academy of Fine Arts, Magdalena Frankowska and Michał Warda are scheduled to hold an academic conference entitled Poster (r)evolution. For more information, please visit the official website.