The topic of the project and the exhibition is a significant initiation in the process of surveying our cultural and historical past – in which contemporary poster artists belonging to various nations give us a hand.
At the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism Bakelit Multi Art Center organized the Visegrád Karma travelling exhibition, embracing poster art originating from the era of the change of the regime. Through the support of Visegrad Fund, the exhibition is alive since 2012, presented until today in 15 countries in the frame of 31 exhibitions. Thanks to Bakelit, the exhibition still travels around the world, reaching more and more new audiences.
In 1989 poster art has resurrected for a couple of months in Central-Europe. Moreover, not only has resurrected, but became a shaping of history. It lied cross to every previous experience, that suddenly posters became the first communicational medium, presumably for the last time. The television and radio gained the leading position from them long before the 80’s, all over the world. Suddenly, in this region both of them became of no interest: had nothing to do with what happened actually, and what everyone felt. The official mediums have remained with the ideology of the regime, while the rashly drawn posters, posted over often at night-time, were inhered in the circulation of the society in turn, and had an intuition of the actual questions.
The posters were drawn, printed and posted, and no matter how many times the authority cleared them off, they were there over and over again. Everything might have happened differently without them: it is not extreme to state that they were actuating the change of the regime. They always framed what everyone felt, but could be or dared to be enunciated by few. They exploded taboos, let out conflicts, traumas and problems that had to remain silent since decades.
The truly moving political poster is qualified for this historical role by its universal pictorial language. This universal aspect is the reason why the exhibition shows a markedly unitary image.
The Visegrad Karma exhibition is an international winnowing with not the differences, but the similarities standing out. Some of the exhibited posters (if we would translate their text) would have been created in either Central European country. We share a common fate, had common experiences and share collective problems. The symbols of the socialism are universal, and seem to evoke similar feelings in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary by the end of the 80’s. The artists of the region joined not only through their similar experiences, but their strong respect for each other.
We can be entitled to feel that in this period everything was speaking about what everybody had enough of. In the period of the end of the communist regime, graphic designers shaped the era, turned the wheel of history, because they had fate in the possibility of change.
The posters of the change of regime are not only important nowadays because they used to be able to influence the conformation of the history. The human memory always banters to pictures: as the history of our family is being preserved in photos in our private lives, the society is also in need of pictures to maintain the collective memory. These posters were imprinted deeply into the collective mind, became determining for every generation who lived through these occurrences. Pictures preserved in the collective memory are building up the common identity: these were shaping us, the people of Central Europe, to what we are today.
Helsinki - Balassi Institute
Athens, GreeceAthens, Greece - Newplan Fine Art Gallery
Budapest - Bakelit Multi Art Center
Košice, Slovakia - Tabačka Kulturfabric
Kielce, Poland - Museum Dialogu Kultur / Wici Foundation
Ljubljana, Slovenia - University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences
Plzen, Czech Repulic - Moving Station
Prague, Czech Republic - Studio Najbrt
Trieste, Italy - CEI (Central European Initiative) Secretariat
Berlin, Germany - Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin
Brussels, Belgium - Balassi Institute
Budapest - Polish Institute
Hague, Netherlands - Atrium of the Hague City Hall
Helsinki, Finland – Embassy of Czech Republic in Helsinki
Warsaw, Poland – Embassy of Hungary in Warsaw
Prague, Czech Republic - Embassy of Hungary in Prague
Vilnius, Lithuania - Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania
Vienna, Austria - Tschechisches Zentrum Wien
Budapest, Hungary - Embassy of Czech Republic in Budapest
Zadar, Croatia - Narodnog Muzeja Zadar
Katowice, Poland - Galeria Sztuki "Fra Angelico" / Historical Museum of Katowice
Munich, Germany – Czech Centre
Katowice, Poland – Historical Museum of Katowice
Köln, Németország - Alte Feuerwache Köln
Soeul, South-Korea - KF Global Center
Stuttgart, Germany - Balassi Institute
Bakelit Multi Art Center (Budapest, Hungary)
Tabacka Kulturfabrik (Kosice, Slovakia)
Wici Foundation (Kielce, Poland)
Johan Centrum (Plzen, Czech Republic)