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The 50th DNP Graphic Design Archives Collection II: Ikko Tanaka Posters 1953-1979

March 06, 2010 - June 06, 2010

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In December 2008 the Ikko Tanaka Memorial Archives were created as a repository of some 120,000 works and materials generously donated to the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion from the Ikko Tanaka Design Office. The archives' establishment came nearly seven years after Ikko Tanaka's untimely death in January 2002, a loss deeply mourned not only in Japan but around the world. This exhibition has been mounted to commemorate the archives' founding and to mark the first in a series of events leading up to the 10th anniversary, in 2012, of the passing of this great luminary in the world of design. Besides Mr. Tanaka's outstanding achievements in terms of leadership in the design profession, he merits high acclaim for his exceptional creative activities - most notably, for his accomplishments as a creator of posters. For this exhibition, 161 items have been gleaned from the roughly 550 posters he created between the 1950's and 1970's, to trace the early and middle phases of his lifelong involvement in design. The chosen works include not only such well-known posters as those he made for the Kobe Music Workers Council and the Seibu Theater and his "8th Sankei Kanze Noh" poster - a true masterpiece in the history of contemporary design - but also a large number of lesser-known but equally remarkable works. The exhibition offers both a retrospective look back to the start of his creative career as well as a probe into the profound appeal of the period when Mr. Tanaka steadily developed into one of the world's foremost poster artists.