Rene Wanner's Poster Page


Book cover, 5k Czech posters of the '60s
from the collections of the Moravian Gallery Brno (CZ). Published as catalogue of the exhibition at the museum, 1997.06.05 - 1997.08.17

Dept. of Applied Arts of the Moravian Gallery Brno (1997)
available from Dr. Marta Sylvestrova, Moravian Gallery, Husova 18, CZ-66226 Brno, Czech Republic, fax +420 - 5 - 422 15758
190 pages, 137 black and white and color reproductions, 21 x 15 cm, softcover; ISBN 80-7027-072-1; 25 DM (about 15 US$); in czech, english, german

Politics is a strange game, as you may have noticed: In the year 1415, the Rector of the University of Prague, Jan Hus, was burned at stake while visiting the german city of Constance, over some disagreement on religious matters. The city has repented in the meantime, and in partial compensation (I guess) hosted an exhibition of czech posters at its Rosengartenmuseum, which formed the basis of the present catalogue. The exhibition was later shown at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic, where the posters came from.

The sixties were a good period for czech posters. The iron grip of postwar soviet communism had loosened a bit, and anyway, printing posters was in line with ideology, as long as it stayed within prescribed boundaries. The contact between Czechoslovakia and the rest of the world was re-established to some extent, and in 1964 the first Biennale of Graphic Design was held in Brno on the initiative of graphic designer Jan Rajlich sen. and others. It became an international event in 1966 and these meetings continue until today. The next Brno Biennale, the 18th, will take place in June 1998.

Artistic movie posters form a prominent part of the production during this time, as in neighboring Poland. Czech and polish posters were often quite similar in style. However, photography, and especially photo collage was used to a far greater extent by the czech designers, as many examples in the catalogue demonstrate.

Poster, 4k
Sladky zivot
1962, Karel Vaca
Poster for the italian movie La dolce vita by F. Fellini
Poster, 3k
Vietnam krvaci - pomuzes?
1966, Jan Rajlich sen.
Political poster Vietnam is bleeding, will you help?
Poster, 5k
1970, Olga Polackova-Vyletalova
Poster for the french movie The tender one by R. Bresson, after a play by F. Dostoevski
Marta Sylvestrova, the reputable curator of the poster collection of the Moravian Gallery in Brno, made good use of the occasion, by including an inventory of her holdings of czech posters of the sixties in the catalogue. More than a thousand of them are listed with designer, czech and english title, size, printing technique, inventory number, and acquisition date. There is a short biography for each of the more than 200 czech and slovak designers, and a two page bibliography that reveals in depth knowledge of the field. An eight page survey of the important poster developments of the decade and about 130 illustrations complete this masterpiece of concentration in the humble shape of a pocket book.

By all means, pick up a copy when you go to the Brno Biennale in June!

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