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Japanese Posters – Today

Uměleckoprůmyslové museum v Praze – 22.03.2007

from the DNP Archives of Graphic Design.

The distinctive aesthetics of Japanese graphic design has been admired over many decades, winning awards at prestigious international venues. The works of Japanese graphic designers are noted for their resourcefulness, powerful visual expression and extraordinary technical quality of print. The unique artistic language and typographic sophistication are particularly pronounced in Japanese poster design. The Japanese poster is a compelling pictorial medium and an original work of art, reflecting in full the designer’s creative talent. Poster advertisements for beverages are thus on a par with posters announcing a play, an exhibition or a film.

The travelling exhibition has been prepared by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and the Die Neue Sammlung in Munich, in close collaboration with the leading Japanese printing company Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., based in Tokyo. Premiered in Munich and afterwards shown in Zurich and Frankfurt, the show is currently being presented to the Czech audiences, featuring contemporary Japanese posters by more than twenty noted designers. There is a representative selection of works by young graphic artists, who entered the scene in the 1980s and 1990s (e.g., Kan Akita, Katsunori Aoki, Kenya Hara, Kazunari Hattori, Kei Matsushita, Kenjiro Sano, Kashiwa Sato, Taku Satoh and Norito Shinmura), as well as the most eminent of the earlier “generation of masters”, who were aligned with the creative pursuits of the famed JAAC – Japan Advertising Artists Club. Among those classics instrumental in the acknowledgement of the poster as an artistic medium are Masuteru Aoba, Katsumi Asaba, Shigeo Fukuda, Yusaku Kamekura, Mitsuo Katsui, Shin Matsunaga, Kazumasa Nagai, Keisuke Nagatomo, Masayoshi Nakajo, Ikko Tanaka and Tadanori Yokoo. The two generations share a common vision in which the poster is viewed as the artists’ personal, highly individual statement, rather than a mere customized advertising material.

Displayed together with the posters are examples of traditional furoshiki scarves, used today to wrap presents in. The scarves are the works of accomplished Japanese designers who collaborate with the Dai Nippon Printing Company.

The exhibition is accompanied by a German-English-Czech catalogue, which includes an introductory essay by Hiroshi Kashiwagi, artist profiles and photo-illustrations of all exhibits on view.

An interactive programme forms part of the exhibition. Guided tours will be organized on March 20 and April 17, 2007, at 5 p.m. in the main exhibition hall of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.

The exhibition is held under the auspices of the Embassy of Japan in the Czech Republic.

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