Rene Wanner's Poster Page

News: New posters from the Faldin family and a question
April 13, 2009, from Alexander Faldin

The Faldin family - a unique graphic design group from St. Petersburg, Russia, consisting of Alexander, his wife Svetlana and their daughters Anastasia and Alexandra - sent me the two posters below, the first one in fall 2008, the second on Easter 2009.

Both are not easy to understand for non-russians and non-intellectuals so let me try to interpret them, despite the opinions that "a good poster explains itself" and "graphic design is a universally understood language" which are still held widely.

2008, Gastarbeitery
The title "Gastarbeitery" in red at upper left, is the german word for "guest workers" and has been adopted as such in russian language. The following text are the names of famous foreigners that have worked in Russia, for example the mathematician Leonhard Euler, the only one I recognize among the 20 celebrities. The poster concludes at lower right with "spasibo vam" or "thank you". A version in latin characters also exists.

The poster addresses the growing international problem of the rejection of foreigners by the local population. It was included by Sergei Serov in his Short list 2008, showing the best of the best russian graphic design in 2008. Having been a gastarbeiter myself for 11 years, and living in a community with more than 50% foreigners, I am not too happy with the poster, and find it too intellectual.

Dead souls
The title "Mertvye dushi" refers to Nikolai Gogol's novel Dead Souls, published in 1842. The rotten and crumbling object is a traditional russian Easter cake.

Gogol's story is about the russian crook Chichikov who buys the souls of deceased slaves from their landlords for a token, promising them state tax relief as they reduce their inventory. His speculation is that he will gain in status as the owner of 400 "employees" and will easily get a mortgage to buy a large estate on which he plans to retire and live in luxury. The plan crumbles when rumors surface that his immense wealth is vaporware, and he is chased out of town. Replace "Chichikov" with "banker" and you have a surprisingly accurate description of the current financial crisis. The meaning of the cake in this context escapes me however, unless it simply says "the party is over" or "the story is as old as a moldy cake".

It took me a day of thinking and googling to come up with this interpretation and I am not even sure that it is correct. On the other hand, I read yesterday the report about the judging of the Taiwan PoStar Award 2009 by Jury Chair Stony Cherng: " .. the floor of the stadium was filled with 2'300 entries. It took the judges one hour to produce the preliminary result of the competition."

So maybe it is true that posters (at least those shown in international competitions, in the yearbooks, on Posterpage) are no longer for the masses but understandable only in the closed circles of graphic designers that speak the insider language ?

home   more news   page created on April 13, 2009 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /