08. 12. 2022 – 09. 04. 2023
Curator: Lucie Vlčková
Exhibition design: Adam Hochmuth
Graphic design: Vladimír Vimr
This exhibition presents a selection of posters from the unique collection held by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, one of the oldest and most important European poster collections. The posters are complemented by 50 other exhibits, such as contemporary art magazines and books. In three thematic blocks – Art, Advertising, Ideology – there are works by international artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret and Howard Chandler Christy, as well as by Czech artists such as Vojtěch Preissig, František Zelenka and Vilém Rotter.
The poster is a distinctive visual communication medium that combines the aesthetics of highbrow art with the visual schematics of pop culture to varying degrees. Although it was perceived as a work of art at the time of its massive expansion in the late 19th century, its existence has always been conditioned by its purely utilitarian, commercial purpose. A poster is almost never created without a commission, and its form is influenced by a range of non-artistic considerations, from the requirements and tastes of the commissioner and their marketing strategies to the target audience. The vast majority of posters had no artistic ambitions, but several of the best ones represent the evolution of graphic design. Such posters are artefacts of considerable artistic, historical and cultural value. They were a subject of interest to collectors at the time of their inception and later became a research subject in the arts, history, culture studies and the social sciences. Posters are not only an important document of cultural heritage, but also an extremely valuable cultural and historical resource that has been appreciated in recent decades in connection with the development of multidisciplinary visual studies. The development of the poster offers a condensed account of changes in society; of everyday life and changes in material culture; and of the ideas and ideology prevalent at the time.