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Exhibition at The MAK in Vienna offers a diverse spectrum of contemporary poster designs
MAK Exhibition View, 2018: 100 Best Posters 17 Germany Austria Switzerland. MAK DESIGN LAB © MAK/Georg Mayer.

VIENNA.- From humorous advertising slogans to socially critical statements, the MAK exhibition 100 Best Posters 17: Germany Austria Switzerland offers a diverse spectrum of contemporary poster designs. On show are the one hundred winning posters that this year’s international jury of experts chose from entries to the annual competition. The posters, all of which are considered equal winners, range from student projects to commissioned work by established graphic designers and advertising agents. In 2017, the selection manifests a pronounced trend towards serial poster combinations and unconventional graphic solutions.

The five-person jury for the graphic design competition, which is by now a well-established tradition, comprised communications designer Jens Müller (Düsseldorf, Chair), poster artist Peter Bankov (Prague), the graphic designers Albert Exergian (Vienna) and Michael Kryenbühl (Bern/Lucerne), as well as designer Daniel Wiesmann (Berlin). They received a record number of 2 293 posters from 657 different participants. During the two-stage selection process, 45 entries were chosen from Germany and 50 from Switzerland, along with one German-Swiss cooperation and four further entries from Austria.

Among the Austrian winners, the design studio Beton features for the forth time. Daniel Car, Oliver Hofmann, and Benjamin Buchegger achieved success with their purely typographic poster Performing New Europe for the International Performing Arts Festival SZENE Salzburg. The design draws upon the artistic tradition of décollage, an art form of the Nouveau Réalisme of the early 1960s.

Two posters by Studio Es were selected for 100 BEST POSTERS 17. Es created both the red-white-red poster for the opening of Diagonale—Festival of Austrian Film in Graz and the poster for the Vienna Humanities Festival 2017, in which the designers seem to be calling for revolution. The latter event dealt with instances of social, artistic, and medial upheaval throughout history. Appropriately then, the raised fist reminds us that a loud voice can also inspire others and thus trigger far-reaching changes.

Martin Lorenz, Stefan Salcher, Tobias Schererbauer, and Markus Wagner—who present themselves as the LWZ crew from the “Alpine Republic of Austria”—surprised the jury with a cross-media poster series. For FM4, the youth culture radio station run by Austria’s national public service broadcaster ORF, this Vienna-based design and animation collective designed posters that look like they leapt straight out of one of LWZ’s animated films.

Among this year’s winning works from Germany is the poster design for the traditional “Kieler Woche” sailing event, one of the most prestigious and important poster design commissions in the German-speaking world. The Heidelberg graphic artist Götz Gramlich won over the jury with a sharply focused poster in blue and white showing interplay among the contours of all classic forms of keels, centerboards, and fins.

The Swiss graphic designer Erich Brechbühl created an appealing design for the multimedia exhibition STEFAN SAGMEISTER: The Happy Show in the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, a show that could also be seen in the MAK from October 2015 to March 2016. With his typographic interpretation of sunny yellow balloons, Brechbühl appropriates forms that grant him access to Sagmeister’s world of happy associations. Brechbühl makes reference here to an excerpt from The Happy Film in which Stefan Sagmeister tried in vain to launch himself into the air with the aid of 6 000 air balloons.

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalog 100 Beste Plakate 17: Deutschland Österreich Schweiz/100 Best Posters 17: Germany Austria Switzerland, Verlag Kettler, Dortmund 2018. Those responsible for the corporate-design of the catalog, web visuals, and printed materials are Jakob Mayr and Kilian Wittmann from the Class for Ideas at the Institute of Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

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