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The 77th Heisei Graphics
March 01, 2019 - June 09, 2019
On April 30th of this year, “Heisei”—the period coinciding with the reign of the current Emperor—will draw to a close and a new era will begin.
Heisei started more than 30 years ago, on January 8, 1989, making it the fourth-longest era in Japan’s history. Its unusual length means that Heisei has forged a clearly definable “period” in the course of the nation’s history: three decades during which Japanese society has undergone vast changes at a dizzying pace.
1989 was also a major turning point in world history. Starting with the revolutions that occurred in Eastern Europe, symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of that year, Communism collapsed and the Cold War that had been waged for so many years headed toward its demise. Out of these events, the world underwent a shift in direction toward democracy and pro-capitalism. This phase was then followed by dramatic social and economic globalization that ultimately restructured our world completely.
In Japan, during the Heisei era the “bubble economy” that began in the mid-1980s collapsed, bringing to a close the stable growth the nation had sustained for more than 20 years and ushering in a period of economic recession. In the technological realm, developments in digital technology made computers an integral part of everyone’s lives, opening up access to a torrent of information that sent the world headlong toward globalization. The resulting impact has vastly affected both our lifestyles and the ways we communicate.
As these rapid transformations were taking place in our social structures, inevitably the realm of graphic design—being closely entwined with popular culture, information, the economy and society as a whole—too became swept up in the waves of change. With diversification of information media, the power wielded by the poster as a medium of communication receded. Moreover, business corporations of the kind that, during the 1970s and 1980s, had been representative of the visual design of the age, were no longer to be found, and with them vanished the powerful charisma that had led the industry as a whole. Today, in contrast to graphic design during the years of mass production and mass consumption, diversity has come to replace uniformity and more individualistic modes of expression have come into demand. The areas in which the graphic designer is active have also broadened in scope, no longer being limited to visual expression but now encompassing projects of all kinds. As a result, design itself is in the process of changing significantly.
The “Heisei Graphics” exhibition will focus on posters in the CCGA archives that were created during the Heisei era. The works on display will demonstrate how graphic design has evolved in tandem with the myriad social changes of the past 30 years and also probe how the power of visual communication has impacted the times.
We hope that this retrospective of works of the Heisei period might shed even a small light on the pathway into the new era to come.
Miyata 1, Shioda, Sukagawa-shi, Fukushima 962-0711, Japan
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (admission until 4:45 p.m.)
Every Monday (except April 29 and May 6), March 23 and May 7.
Adults 300 Yen, students 200 Yen.
Free for young children (through elementary school), senior citizens (65 and over) and the handicapped.
DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion and Center for Contemporary Graphic Art