"Weltformat: Swiss Poster Design from Lucerne in St Petersburg"


26.06 - 20.07.2014

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Program: [Contemporary art and contemporary society]

Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council in scope of «Swiss Made in Russia» exchange program
HSE Art&Design School of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow
The Canton of Lucerne, Switzerland
together with
National Research University «Higher School of Economics», Saint-Petersburg
National Centre for Contemporary Arts, North-Western Branch, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
State Museum of the History of St Petersburg

In the Parallel Program of Manifesta 10

present the exhibition

"Weltformat: Swiss Poster Design from Lucerne in St Petersburg"

June 26 – July 20, 2014

Opening: June 26, 2014  at 5 p.m.

Venue:  State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg , Peter and Paul Fortress, Ioannovsky Ravelin exhibition hall

Curator: Egor Larichev

Artists: C2F (Cybu Richli, Fabienne Burri and Dani Klauser), Hi (Megi Zumstein&Claudio Barandun), Erich Brechbühl, Matthias Hoffmann, Melchior Imboden, Märt Imfanger, Johnson/Kingston, Reto Leuthold, Peng Peng (Klaus Fromherz & Martin Geel), 
Daniel Peter, Mathis Pfäffli, Felix Pfäffli, Dashenka Prochazka, Luca Schenardi, Niklaus Troxler, Amadus Waltenspühl 

Weltformat is the term in printing applied for the largest format of the printer’s sheet – 130x90 centimeters. So is called the graphic designers' and illustrators' association based in Lucerne, Swiss, which is organizing here the eponymous poster festival every autumn.
Manifesta 10 is going to be the meeting point of the parallel and therefore rarely intersecting traditions. The consequences of those meetings are unpredictable and therefore surprising. So, the opening of the exhibition "Weltformat : Swiss Poster Design in Saint-Petersburg" in frame of the European Biennial may become an important event not only for the poster itself or for its designers, but also for the Russian society as a whole. In fact since the mid of 1990s all efforts of Russian designers in the poster field are in consistent transformation to become the point of Hamburg reckoning: posters are made for the professional competitions, exhibited at the Graphic Design Biennales, earn prizes and bring honorable mentions to its’ creators. But the never have a regular spectator nor a commissioner.

The exhibition of the Weltformat designers shows that in the town of Lucerne the situation with posters is completely different. Here the posters are not just posted – they are shocking, charming, informing and, finally, talking with the townspeople in a loud voice. Here the poster design is bright, interesting and aclaimed.

It is quite obvious that in this, Swiss, modernity the poster is on a par with the New Media - it is targeted at the direct contact with the town dweller, it "lives" on the streets, it "sells" not a commodity, but one of the cultural services - inviting to the theater, the exhibition, the museum, or to the rock concert. In the epoch of the "long tail" this weapon of the revolutionary direct action, which appears to be still sharp, is almost the only way to establish off-line connections between the neighboring communities of citizens. Designers here turn into the caste of translators, intertwining the network of social relationships.

Naturally, this situation could be possible only in the small scale of the friendly local community with a high degree of tolerance: being a printed product, posters seem to be an archaic media-nonsense related to mega-cities, superwide internet channels, QR- codes and augmented reality services. But this exclusion from the general "media soup" turn the poster into the independent work of art. In the modern urban context, where the tradition of glue placards is an abandoned social practice - it turns from the mass-market product of the graphic designer into the artist’s flaring message. This is a kind of the instant monument – the reflex the cultural context existing in the city under the same terms than the partisan street art works do.

Those properties are shown by most of the posters, presented in the exhibition "Weltformat: Swiss Poster Design in St Petersburg", opening in Ioannovsky Ravelin of Peter and Paul fortress, revealing here the social utopia dream once again.

Egor Larichev

Address: State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg , Peter and Paul Fortress, Ioannovsky Ravelin exhibition hall; metro “Gorkovskaya”

Tickets – 50 rub. (children, students, pensioners – 30 rub)

Exhibition hours: 12 a.m. – 6 p.m
Closed: Wednesday
Ticket office closes down at 5 p.m.

Info: tel. 230 64 31, 670 85 30


Opening of the exhibition:



2a, Glinki st, St Petersburg.  © National centre for contemporary arts. Developement [artinfo]. [Andrey Velikanov]'s design