Gold Medalist, Stephan Bundi, Tartuffe (alias Etienne Bonjour), Switzerland
First you should understand that the posters in this show are more than good — they’re great. They’re so great, they immediately make me think of String Theory
String Theory, as you undoubtedly know, is (potentially) a unified theory of physics: a reconciliation of General Relativity (Einstein) and Quantum Mechanics. In other words, our generally accepted views of the Big Picture and the Small Picture are universally at odds. String Theory presents a way to resolve this conflict with (quantum) beauty and (relative) simplicity. Brian Greene, noted theoretical physicist from Columbia University, made this concept accessible and exciting in a treatise he termed, The Elegant Universe
. String Theory is indeed an “elegant” solution in that it wrestles complexity to the ground, rendering it not just digestible but palatable.
And this is what makes a Poster great.
There are Poster makers represented in this show that were given the task of capturing the various facets of an opera, the emotional promise of a musical performance, or the gravity of a socially charged issue. In the face of these challenges, they did not run to the easy solution. They did not default to the expected. They did not show concern for our comfort. They worked hard to enlighten us. They dug deep to surprise us. They succeeded in provoking us. Within the confinement of a two-dimensional frame and a limited toolbox of visual devices, they wrestled with complexity and rendered it palatable, emotional and memorable. Their solutions are without question, elegant.
The first Chicago International Poster Biennial exhibition was held in Daley Bicentennial Plaza — part of Chicago’s Grant Park — in September of 2008. See a slideshow of that exhibition here. An exhibition of the 2010 winners is open to the public until July 28, 2011. More info here. The CIPBA will continue to advocate on behalf of posters and communication design as a shared, public experience.