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STRONG AND FRAGILE – In Memoriam Yurdaer Altıntaş and Shigeo Fukuda

Strong and Fragile

Graphic Design / Poster Design

In Memoriam Yurdaer Altıntaş and Shigeo Fukuda

The exhibition centers upon the 23 beautiful posters of Yurdaer Altıntaş (1935–2019) from Turkey, and Shigeo Fukuda (1932–2009) from Japan, who had been the members of AGI: Alliance Graphique International and enriched our visual language with their strong visuality as well as deep imagination. Both Fukuda’s and Altıntaş’s intellectual efforts and artistic views shaped two different iconic visual repertoire of the Late Modernism. Their contributions to poster design serve us to interpret poster not only a surface medium, but also a paper space to be able to create multilayered visual reality.

Yurdaer Altıntaş (1935-2019) shaped his visual language by interpreting the dramatic and political iconography of the Polish Poster School, improved by Tadeusz Trepkowsky (1914–1954) and Henryk Tomaszewski (1914–2005) during the 1950s. Like his Polish colleagues, his approach to poster design was also to highlight the individual reality through illustrative visuality, printed on fragile paper.

However, his intellectual links with the Polish Poster School was not only interest of an illustrative visual style. He was also Polish from his mother side, and he always had strong bonds with Polish culture as well as close contacts with Polish poster designers in all of his profession. Like the Polish poster artists, Yurdaer Altıntaş also chose to work in the cultural field rather than to work in commercial advertising agencies. During the 1960s, his handmade illustrative posters for theater plays became distinctively visible at public outdoors. From late 1980s to 2000s his posters for the film directors and actors, such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luis Buñuel, Alain Delon and Marcello Mastroianni, emblematized the concept of authorship through his strong and dramatic layouts. His pictorial visual language turned in to typographic illustrative structures during 50 years of his profession, and reflected the timeline from handmade craftsmanship to the usage of the digital mediums for his unique visual repertoire. He conceptualized poster as printed and circulated cultural medium, which should have its own iconographic and dramatic reality, rather than ephemeral surface visuality.

Yurdaer Altıntaş was not only a protagonist Turkish graphic designer. He was also a leading professor at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Department of Graphic Design, who has structured and modernized the graphic design education program by collaborating with his young colleagues as well as directing the Society of Turkish Graphic Designers for years. He died in Istanbul on 24th of July 2019.

Shigeo Fukuda (1932–2009) created his visual style by combining the international pictographic language with the traditional Japanese shadow theater visuality. Starting from late 1960s to 2000s, he created a sort of poetic and pictographic imagery and played with poster as a paper medium for his optic illusions.

For Fukuda poster was both a surface and a space, where the print ink meets with the paper and creates its own aesthetic reality. His silent shadow figures turned as emblems of irony and humor, which could be easily read like international pictograms. As seen from his giant size colorful posters of 50 years of his profession, Shigeo Fukuda seems to positioned himself like a traditional Japanese calligrapher, who used his own pictographic shadow figures instead of hand drawn Japanese letters out of black ink. However, his posters were rarely two-dimensional, as they created magical realities through optic illusions. Combining tradition with Modernism as well as regionalism with internationalism, were the key elements for Fukuda’s visual repertoire. He followed “Less is More” and “Simple is Always Difficult to Reach” motto, by combining Japanese shintoist philosophy with Late Modernist functionalist design theory. Like Yurdaer Altıntaş, Shigeo Fukuda also contributed to the visual language of graphic design by lecturing at Fine Arts Academy of Tokyo as full time professor. He set up a strong bridge between his former generation master graphic artists with the new generation Japanese designers. He is embedded with his own visual style, mostly referred as the Fukuda Style. He died in Tokyo on 11th of January 2009.

Strong and Fragile is an in memoriam exhibition for two leading poster designers, who has created and shared their visual reality on paper. Their beautiful posters visualize strong and timeless ideas, but they are all out of fragile paper, and therefore needed to be well cared and protected from physical damages. This dramatic contradiction between the material and the content shows us the poster as strong but fragile medium, which also mirrors our creative profession.

The existence of printed poster is vanishing in today’s fast digital interactive communication technologies. Young generation graphic designers are born in digital revolution and poster is a classical medium for many of them. It is therefore meaningful to ask what these beautiful posters will mean to the next generation colleagues? And how these fragile products will reach up to the future?

The poster exhibition titled Strong and Fragile is realized by the collaboration of Hochschule Augsburg, Faculty of Design with Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Research Centre of Graphic Design.

Sinan Niyazioğlu
Director of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Research Centre of Graphic Design

(Strong and Fragile is a curatorial selection from each designer’s posters, donated to the Archive of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Research Centre of Graphic Design in 2000 and in 2019.)

STRONG AND FRAGILE – In Memoriam  Yurdaer Altıntaş and Shigeo Fukuda
STRONG AND FRAGILE – In Memoriam  Yurdaer Altıntaş and Shigeo Fukuda
STRONG AND FRAGILE – In Memoriam  Yurdaer Altıntaş and Shigeo Fukuda

Room L-Bau, EG, Korridor

Tuesday, 19:00 – 21:00
Wednesday, 09:00 – 17:00
Thursday, 09:00 – 17:00
Friday, 09:00 – 17:00


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