Each time when I see an East-European poster from the previous century, I’ve noticed a hidden or direct message in it, or I see the whole past in the drawn lines. Lines are like words, emotions, idealism, pain, anger, utopia, dissatisfaction, cosmopolitanism, mood, simply artist’s shout or his clear opposition to actual political rule with the desire to break out. I think in Eastern Europe in the last century the posters were one of the main surfaces for communication with progressive criticism, so we can say that posters were the tools of social media of those times. Self-expression through posters were a natural need beside theater, poetry, music and art in these chaotic years, when people lived in fear and full off questions in their heads, with untoppled walls and borders around. These art pieces often reflect bold contrast of colors, a heavy dose of symbolism, artist’s own or somebody other’s interpreted story, or simply a funny way of product promotion – briefly: a socialist realistic design. Posters often reflect short spokens and concise textures with mirror effect. Artists were constantly testing and playing with their limits often endangering themselves. Despite the fact that these countries were isolated from the world we can recognize all tendencies of artistic era in them. This proves that geographical borders and political powers cannot stop the art and the actual social influences throughout the world.
Why don’t we have such creative posters nowadays? Nowadays the internet replaces these functions. Today we are all only passive observers and watch them like documentaries of forgotten times. Through them we can recognize the main fashion trends, ideal beauty, popular products, film or theater campaigns, commercial aims, important messages of actual political systems or revolutionary calls to nation. These posters clearly capture the drama of history, so they can help us better understand the attitudes, although they are all marked with hard life experiences of these countries. As a result of these confused periods, artists had left us a huge collection of art. They were skilled masters of metaphora, allegory and irony. And now, after these bloody, struggled and militant century we call all these visual statements: Funny, Stylish, Vintage and Trippy? – I wonder if people thought the same at that time? I think we should say: Serious, Provocative, Actual and Real!
Enjoy below the intensity of different eras through colourful poster art! You can find art pieces between years 1900-1980.