04 January 2018


Ikkō Tanaka.

Posters from Japan

Neues Museum, Nuremberg

- 18 February 2018



The Neues Museum in Nuremberg is currently holding an exhibition dedicated to the Japanese master of simple but complex shapes, Ikkō Tanaka (1930–2002). At the heart of the show are the designer’s posters which contributed immensely to his international success. In his work, Tanaka extracts the essence of Japanese aesthetics and translates it into the present.


Ikkō Tanaka’s design career began at the traditional Municipal Art School in Kyoto, where he studied modern art. Afterwards, he worked as a pattern designer in the textile industry and as an exhibition designer. At the age of 33, he founded his own design studio in Tokyo and, immediately in the following year, he took part in Documenta 3 in Kassel in 1964.

Nowadays, Ikkō Tanaka is regarded as one of the most influential Japanese graphic designers of the 20th century. In addition to designing book covers and logos, exhibitions and graphic experiments, he was also responsible for art direction at various companies such as Seibu, Mazda and Shiseido. Tanaka’s posters for dance and theatre productions are especially influential, as are those he designed for art exhibitions. In his graphic work, the abstract aesthetics of his homeland always meet the influences of Western culture with a playful wink. Tanaka and his work can simply be described as powerful, clear, expressive, harmonious, bold, sublime and beguiling.

The exhibition has been arranged in co-operation with Die Neue Sammlung in Munich and is curated by Corinna Rösner. Running in parallel, the Neues Museum is showing the exhibition “On the Art of Building a Teahouse. Excursions into Japanese Aesthetics” until 18 February 2018.


Nº 281
Design and Archives

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