Japanese Posters. Ikko Tanaka – Faces
Duration: March 3, 2018 – June 17, 2018
A presentation by Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum –, starting at the beginning of MCBW 2018
Venue: Pinakothek der Moderne, Barer Strasse 40, 80333 Munich
Admission free
 
Inspired by the Bauhaus, American Jazz and the aesthetic tradition of Japan, Ikko Tanaka (1930-2002) remains one of the most influential Japanese graphic designers. The exhibition is dedicated to the theme of the face in the poster oeuvre of this communicator between Japanese culture and the West. The parade of faces gliding past the ambling viewer is akin to a Gallery of Beauties, rendered in radical geometric abstraction, calligraphic expressivity or captured in photographs, emblematic, distorted, as impenetrable mask, surreal, playful … Sublimely seductive or theatrically tantalizing, all of these faces want to catch the viewer’s attention, be it for Noh or Kabuki theatre, exhibitions, communications companies or a collection by fashion designer Issey Miyake.
 
Born in 1930 in Nara, Tanaka studied at the highly traditional Kyoto City University of Arts – Japan’s oldest art school. After his studies, he initially worked as a pattern designer in the textile industry, then as an exhibition designer, before founding his own studio in Tokyo in 1963. Graphic works by Tanaka were shown at Documenta 3 as early as 1964.
 His multi-facetted oeuvre ranges from art direction for companies including Seibu, Mazda and Shiseido to book design, typographic experiments and the concept of the no-name-design store Muji. He gained international renown mostly through his posters, designed for cultural events such as theatre shows, dance performances, concerts, festivals and exhibitions, but also for type foundries, communications companies and fashion designers, as well as on environmental and political themes.
 
Ikko Tanaka’s style could be outlined as combining bold abstraction with the balancing of opposites; it is expressive, elegant and powerful. Fellow designer American Ivan Chermayeff dubbed him a “distiller of visual truth”.
 
Press contact:
Dr. Corinna Rösner, Die Neue Sammlung
roesner@die-neue-sammlung.de
Phone +49-(0)89-272725-0
 
These images may be used free of charge for editorial reporting on this exhibition, on condition that the credit is clearly and fully indicated. Download: Move Cursor on your choice and click; start download of High Resolution files with “save as” command.
 
Ikko Tanaka, The 200th Anniversary of Sharaku 1795-1995, 1995. For the bicentennial of legendary Ukiyo-e woodblock artist and Noh actor Tōshūsai Sharaku. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1995 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, The Third International Hokusai Conference, 1998. Offset. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1998 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, The 28th Sankei Kanze Noh Performance, 1981. Silkscreen. For a Noh performance of the Kanze school at Sankei Theatre, Osaka. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1981 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, The Universe of Tamasaburo, 1978. For a book about Kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando V. with photos by Kishin Shinoyama. Bando is the leading ‘onnagata’, an actor playing female roles, in today’s Kabuki theatre. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1978 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, The First Citizens Culture Festival – Grand Finale, 1986. For the finale of the first national culture festival in Tokyo with the motto “Thankyou – Heart of Japan”. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1986 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, The 3rd International Biennial Exhibition for Prints, 1962. Offset. Client: National Museum of Art, Tokyo / daily newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1962 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, The 6th National Culture Festival: Chiba ’91, 1991. Offset. For the largest national culture festival of Japan. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1991 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, The Dramatic Power of Script, 1993. Offset. For type foundry Morisawa, Osaka/Tokyo. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1993 / licensed by DNPartcom.
Ikko Tanaka, Contemporary Expression 3 – The Exhibition by Seven Artists, 1995. Offset. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum. © Ikko Tanaka 1995 / licensed by DNPartcom.