WEEKLY

THE LANGUAGE OF POSTER
海報絮語

全球化、現代化、工業化、殖民化……相信大家已聽聞不下數百遍。而「海報化」又是一個怎樣的概念?在剛過去的兩個多星期,PMQ元創方的展覽《海報化──波蘭海報藝術展》展出逾百張波蘭當代海報藝術家的作品,他們更以《向香港致敬》為題創作了一系列新的海報。今期Chessman Post將透過介紹波蘭海報,帶大家一起發掘海報蘊藏的藝術。

不論是在寧謐的街角一隅,抑或人聲雜杳的車廂中,海報的蹤影皆隨處可見。由於海報總是如常地出現,它們就像是生活中不足掛齒的存在。然而,波蘭人不僅把海報當作商業用途,更以藝術的角度去看待海報。波蘭人將海報視之為國際語言,經常舉辦海報展覽,在首都華沙亦設有世界上首間海報博物館,足見海報對當地具有舉足輕重的地位。

二戰後,歐洲陷入冷戰時期,一道「鐵幕」令波蘭與多個東歐國家一樣,變為蘇聯的勢力範圍。在共產政權的統治下,社會封閉起來,人們欠缺宣洩己見的渠道,而這正是波蘭海報嶄露頭角之時。當時政府會邀請藝術家設計歌頌社會主義的海報,甚至重新為外地引入的電影及戲劇設計海報。整個城市一片寂靜黯淡之際,海報宛如一道光柱,形成藝術家與世界溝通的橋樑。一眾藝術家紛紛藉着海報,隱晦地道出內心的說話。1950年代,波蘭其獨特的海報設計風格逐漸發展為「波蘭學院派」,並開始享譽國際。

一般而言,閱讀一張海報的時間,往往不過十秒八秒。究竟如何才能在須臾間觸發讀者的共鳴,訴說一個完整的故事?波蘭的海報帶有強烈的視覺元素,表現手法荒誕而幽默,更融合多種現代藝術風格,包括表現主義、超現實主義、立體主義等。昔日的波蘭海報經常滲透政治元素,例如有海報用「NIE」(波蘭語,意思為「不」)一字,宣洩反戰的情緒;又有海報利用不同圖案拼湊成希特拉和納粹黨徽的樣子。今日的波蘭海報雖然用途較以前廣泛,但設計仍離不開抽象的圖案和鮮艷的色彩。是次展覽亦有不少令人印象深刻的作品,例如《Nothing Last Forever》中的回收標誌裏有一個缺口,充分表達了作品的隱喻;《To Be Or (War) Not To Be?》則以一道朦朧的陰影帶出對戰爭的反思。波蘭藝術家擅於用簡單的構圖、直接的文字,牽引出意味深長的寓意。

展覽中《向香港致敬》的專題,呈現了儼如萬花筒般的香港,有維港景色、李小龍、洋紫荊等圖像。在波蘭藝術家眼中,香港是片石屎森林,也是中西交融之地。香港之於香港人,又是一片怎樣的土地呢?

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Globalized, modernized, industrialized and colonized. I believe you have heard these terms a thousand times before. But have you ever heard of “posterized”? In the past two week, an exhibition named “Posterized – Poster Art from Poland” was held in PMQ, showcasing over a hundred of posters designed by contemporary artists from Poland. The artists were also invited to participate in the project “Tribute to Hong Kong” to create a series of posters, paying homage to the city. This issue of Chessman Post would like to discover the hidden art of poster with readers through introducing Polish posters.

Posters can be ubiquitously found no matter on a quiet street corner or in a jam-packed train. Since posters are everywhere, their existence seems to be not worth mentioning. However, Poles do not merely treat posters as commercial tools, but also a form of art to appreciate. They consider poster as an international language and always hold poster exhibitions. Also, the world’s first poster museum was built in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland. Apparently, posters play a vitally important role in Poland.

After the Second World War, Europe entered the era of Cold War. An “Iron Curtain” descended and split Europe into two different political areas. Similar to other countries in Eastern Europe, Poland then became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Under the sovereignty of communist government, Poland turned to be a closed society where people lost their freedom to express their thoughts. But this had led to the golden age of Polish posters. During that time, the Polish government would invite some artists to design posters praising socialism, and even re-design posters for imported movies and dramas. When the city was shrouded in a cloak of silence, posters were like a piercing beam of light—it became a bridge for communication between Poland and the world. The artists used posters as the channel to express their inner feelings. In the 1950s, the Polish School of Poster was developed and Polish posters started to gain international recognition.

Generally speaking, people would spend no more than 10 second to read a poster. How to create an effective poster that can immediately grab the attention and present the whole story as well? With a sense of whimsy and humor, Polish posters incorporate strong visual elements and combine a number of contemporary art styles, including expressionism, surrealism and cubism. In the past, Polish posters often involved political elements. For instance, the poster designer used the Polish word “NIE”, which literally means “no” in English, as the only word appeared on the poster to vent the anti-war emotions. Some other poster designers even used different graphics to form the shape of Hitler’s face and the symbol of Nazi Party. Although Polish posters have wider usage in today’s world, the classic Polish style still remains—abstract graphics and vibrant colors. There were many remarkable posters in PMQ’s exhibition, such as “Nothing Last Forever” and “To Be Or(War) Not To Be?”. In the poster “Nothing Last Forever”, there is an incomplete recycle logo which clearly shows the hidden metaphor. While in the other poster “To Be Or(War) Not To Be?”, the word “or” is shadowed by “war”, which brings out the reflection on wars. Polish artists are good at conveying deep meanings with simple graphic composition and concise words.

In the project “Tribute to Hong Kong”, the posters show a kaleidoscopic Hong Kong with different images such as the view of Victoria Harbor, Bruce Lee, and bauhinia. In the eyes of Polish artists, Hong Kong is a concrete jungle as well as a melting pot of Chinese and Western cultures. But how do Hongkongers think about Hong Kong?

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #196

THE LANGUAGE OF POSTER

 

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