The french national railways SNCF called for an international poster competition earlier this year which
was then organized by Thierry Sarfis in collaboration with the Centre du Graphisme et de la Communication visuelle d'Echirolles,
and the International Poster Biennale Warsaw. The 74 best posters (out of 897 received from 32 countries) will now
be on tour in Europe, making their first stop in Warsaw during the Biennale.
The winners have already been announced, and a small catalogue has been published. Most of the works that are displayed are from designers unknown to me, so I assume they are from students who just flooded the competition. Or maybe the students are getting better than the pros ? Or the jury just enjoyed the fresh wind blowing in their face ? Anyway, the quality of the exhibition is high, all the works are technically perfect, there are many original, surprising, amusing ideas, that go sometimes far beyond the promotional aspects suggested in the call for entries.
Is technical and intellectual brilliance good enough ? One poster, by Michel Quarez, departs disturbingly from the rest: It reminds us of the role the railways played in transporting jews to concentration camps, hardly the type of publicity a company is asking for. Still, SNCF fared better than the french tobacco company SEITA a few years ago with a poster competition for Gitanes cigarettes that unexpectedly run into heavy anti-smoking fire from Alain Le Quernec and his students.
home intro previous exhibitions page last revised on July 27, 2002 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /