Born in Tokyo in 1940, Shin Matsunaga has been one of Japan’s most influential graphic designers since the end of the 1960s. From the end of the 1970s onwards, he has also forged a name for himself internationally. He combines traditional Japanese graphic art, drawings and paintings with Western set pieces without ever merging the two.
Clear typography, bright colours and a wide range of pictorial inventions and compositions that are something between illustrations and photography determine the designs of his posters. His work, some of it in the fields of corporate design, editorial and packaging design, have received numerous awards and have served as inspiration for numerous designers internationally.
Japanese graphic designers felt that Western functionalism has been a great example to them and tended to see their own systems of characters as a disadvantage. It took until the 1960s for a new self-confidence to result in a conscious return to their own traditions. This development is closely associated with the name of Ikko Tanaka (1930–2002). This new self-reliance was rapidly recognized internationally as a great quality – suddenly, Japanese design reigned supreme, a situation that is still in evidence today.
In the past, Deutsches Plakat Museum has devoted numerous exhibitions to those who have set Germany an example and the factors that have influenced German poster design. Japanese designers have repeatedly featured in this, designers such as Ikko Tanaka and Takenobu Igarashi (born in 1944). With this exhibition of the work of Shin Matsunaga we are continuing with this loose succession in Museum Folkwang.
Our great thanks go out to Shin Matsunaga, whose generous gift of his most important posters forms the basis of this overview of his work and its position in the European context.
A catalogue has been published by Edition Folkwang/Steidl.
Please order it here...