Early in 2021, the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum will present a new exhibition, CONSTRUCTIVE POSTERS OF THE 20TH CENTURYOrganized with the cooperation of Tama Art University, the exhibition presents a selection of Constructivist posters from the TAKEO Poster Collection. Visitors will enjoy a unique time at the museum, surrounded by its gardens displaying the singular beauty only observable from early spring to cherry blossom season. We look forward to welcoming you to this exhibition!

Over view of the Exhibition

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, Constructivism revolutionized art and design. To the field of visual design Constructivism brought a distinctive style in which icons and text were fused in geometric, abstract forms. This style was employed by numerous artists and designers, including El Lissitzky, Jan Tschichold, Max Bill, and Josef Müller-Brockmann, who through repeated experiments enormously expanded the potential of visual design, laying the foundation for visual design today. This exhibition of works from the Takeo Poster Collection, on deposit at Tama Art University, explores how Constructive posters, which brilliantly illuminated their era, gave birth to trends in use of icons and text that persisted throughout the twentieth century. Visitors will not only enjoy the vivid creativity of these posters. They will also come to appreciate their contribution to the historical process that shapes all posters even today.


Structure of the Exhibition

This exhibition consists of three sections, each composed of Constructivist posters. It explores, through 130 posters, that movement’s development and process of change over the course of the twentieth century.

1.The Geometry of Images and Texts

Trace the transmission and development of the Constructivist or International Style poster, as exemplified by the work of the Swiss School and the Ulm School, which played historic roles, guiding the way in postwar visual communication.

Mary Vieira, DC7C Panair do Brasil, 1957 ⓒIsisuf – Archivio Mary Vieira, Milano. All rights reserved.
Emil Ruder, Max Bechmann / Kunsthalle Basel, 1956 ⓒEmil Ruder

2.Historic Dynamism

This section explores posters that symbolize Russian Constructivism, the Bauhaus, and the New Typography, all of which arose before World War II and were the roots of the International Style.

Eugen Ehmann, Ausstellung Deutscher Graphik / Kunstsalon Wolfsberg Zürich, 1921
El Lissitzky, USSR / Russische Ausstelung / Kustgewerbemuseum Zürich, 1929
Theo Ballmer, 100 Jahre Lichtbild / Kunstgewerbemuseum Basel, 1927

3.The Nature of Communication

Since the 1970s, trends known as the New Wave and Postmodernism have arisen in the context of the International Style. Examine those trends through sixty posters by 10 designers.

Skolos-Wedell, SBK Entertainment World, c. 1987 ⓒSkolos-Wedell
Jean-Benoit Levy, Marktblatt, 1989 ⓒJean-Benoit Levy ( AGI / AIGA ), Studio A N D ( ), Photo : Alexandre Genoud
Wolfgang Weingart, Das Schweitzer Plakat 1900–1983 / Birkhäuser Verlag, 1983 ⓒWolfgang Weingart

Key Points

Experience an exhibition that that presents, in one setting, a collection of posters that are the starting point of visual design

What a poster presents is a scene woven of images and texts. In this exhibition, the focus is on Constructivist posters, in which images and texts are merged within geometric designs. With a comprehensive view of a group of posters that built the foundations of contemporary visual design, the exhibition explores the origins of that design culture.

Trace the development of Constructivist posters to read their story

From their rise in the 1920s to the emergence of computer graphics in the 1990s, Constructivist posters have continued to develop, changing in many ways. Design shares that direction and continues to play a major role in contemporary society.

This exhibition examines the changes and the light that Constructivist posters have cast on in their landscapes composed of images and texts. Studying them from various perspectives, it follows their stories.

Gain perspectives for considering what a poster is and how to look at posters

Through examining the processes of generating, developing, and sharing the fonts, papers, and styles used in Constructivist posters, the exhibition proposes perspectives for considering what, basically, posters are and how we should view them. It also questions the significance of posters now and in the future, as digitalization strides ahead.


Visiting information


Dates :  Saturday, 30 January – Sunday, 11 April, 2021

Hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (Last admission at 17:30)   Closed on February 10, 24,  March 10, 24, April 5 ※From April, 2021, the closed day will be changed to Monday.

Venue : Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum |5-21-9, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Admission:Adults ¥ 1,100 / College and vocational students  ¥ 880/Junior high and high school students ¥ 550/Senior (65 and over) ¥ 550

Tel:+81 (0)50 5541 8600 (automated phone system)

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