At the embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, an exhibit of theater posters as high art

At the embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, an exhibit of theater posters as high art

Twitter. Facebook. E-mail blasts. Such phenomena may be a boon to Information Age theaters seeking publicity. But will cyber-marketing ever attain the level of high art, as a much older marketing medium — the theater poster — has frequently done? The list of artistic luminaries who have designed posters for stage performances includes Alexander Calder,

Volpone1Twitter. Facebook. E-mail blasts. Such phenomena may be a boon to Information Age theaters seeking publicity. But will cyber-marketing ever attain the level of high art, as a much older marketing medium — the theater poster — has frequently done? The list of artistic luminaries who have designed posters for stage performances includes Alexander Calder, Alphonse Mucha and Pablo Picasso, to name a few.

The Republic of Slovenia has its own theater-poster superstar: Joze Domjan, whose career stretches back more than four decades. A graphic designer and artist trained in Vienna and Ljubljana, Slovenia, Domjan has turned his hand to calendars, books, memorial installations — even stamps. But he is particularly known for his theater posters, many of them created for Slovensko Ljudsko Gledalisce Celje — the name can be translated as Celje People’s Theatre — a repertory company in the town of Celje, where he was born.

An exhibit of Domjan’s work, “Oko.Misel.Roka.” (“Eye.
Thought.Hand.”) is at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, where it remains through Dec. 12. A version of a showcase that appeared at Novo Celje Mansion in Zalec, Slovenia, the exhibit gives an overview of the artist’s work from 1973 through 2013.

Eye-catching images abound. There’s the poster for Sophocles’s “Antigone” featuring a hand with blood-red nails probing a jagged dark mass that could be a crown. There’s an unsettling bird-man hybrid on a placard for an adaptation of “Volpone.” There’s the grim black-and-gray landscape, anchored by a buried white bone, that alludes to “Halstat,” a play by Slovenian writer Drago Jancar.

And there’s the mysterious and haunting image that may be Domjan’s most famous creation: a cloaked figure in a Venetian carnival mask and black tricorne hat, looming against a midnight blue background in a poster for a 1995 production of “The Merchant of Venice” (“Beneski trgovec” in Slovene).

“I don’t know why it has been so popular,” the 62-year-old Domjan said of the “Merchant of Venice” poster. Speaking via Skype from his home in Liboje, Slovenia (with Slovenian Embassy cultural, press and public diplomacy officer Nuska Zakrajsek translating), the artist speculated that the appeal might be “the powerful blue color” in the poster’s background. Alternatively, he said, the draw might be the delicate black-on-black lace of the cloak, or perhaps the mask. Whatever the attraction, the image has been so popular that Domjan isn’t sure he owns a replica of the poster himself: Too many other people walked off with the copies that originally were printed.

Domjan said he prefers another of his posters on view in the embassy exhibit: an advertisement for a production of Russian writer Alexander Galin’s “Stars in the Morning Sky.” Set at the time of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Galin’s play depicts image-conscious Soviet authorities banishing the city’s prostitutes, who they sequester outside of town. To capture the spirit of the production, part of Celje People’s Theatre’s 1990-91 season, Domjan took part of the 1980 Olympics logo — rising stripes that resemble a streamlined tower, with a five-pointed star above the summit — and added, around the star, a symbol that, at least in Slovenian vernacular culture, could allude to female genitalia.

This design was potentially controversial, since it could be read as an obscenity lobbed at communism. The Berlin Wall had recently fallen; the dissolution of what had been Yugoslavia was at hand (Slovenia established independence in 1991). Because of the political circumstances, “everything was very sensitive,” Domjan recalls. He said he sat with Franci Krizaj, the production’s director, for at least two hours, equivocating over whether to print the poster, or whether to go with a safer, more figurative design.

Finally, edgy symbolism won the day. It “seemed more to the point,” Domjan said. No major repercussions followed, but when the international design publication Graphis wanted to publish the poster, he was obliged to provide a caption explaining that the risque imagery was not a political statement, but rather referred to the play’s prostitution theme.

Domjan dealt more directly with geopolitical history and conflict when he began to design, or collaborate on, memorial installations and exhibits. He has vivid memories of working on a commemorative installation related to retaliatory killings in post-World War II Yugoslavia: The assignment, which forced him to contemplate grim testimonial objects such as a shoe with human bones in it, made a deep impression on him. “It was almost painful,” he said.

Fortunately, not all his commemorative-display gigs have been so somber. One exhibit dealt with the history of skiing, he said.

Domjan still is designing, although he also keeps himself occupied with the vineyard and orchard attached to his current home. Looking back at his life’s work, particularly in theater-poster design, he notes that he has been fortunate to work with directors and other colleagues who gave “ample scope to new ideas — even radical ideas.” All in all, he said, he feels “very lucky and privileged.”

By Celia Wren November 7

Wren is a freelance writer.

Oko.Misel.Roka. (Eye.Thought.Hand.) On view Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through Dec. 12 at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, 2410 California St. Visit www.
washington.embassy.si.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/at-the-embassy-of-the-republic-of-slovenia-an-exhibit-of-theater-posters-as-high-art/2014/11/06/a777b60e-6373-11e4-ab86-46000e1d0035_story.html

Please follow and like us:

RSS BIDD

  • Public Diplomacy: Toward a More “Diplomatic” World 17th Feb 2019
    tufts.edu, February 13, 2019; original article contains a video and photographs image from Alan K. Henrikson, the Lee E. Dirks Professor of Diplomatic History Emeritus and founding Director of Diplomatic Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, was on hand at the American Center in Moscow at the U.S. Embassy, to […]
  • China tells world to ignore Mike Pence ‘lectures’ 17th Feb 2019
    Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, February 16, 2019 Yang Jiechi image from Wikipedia MUNICH — European leaders should disregard "lectures" from Vice President Mike Pence and other U.S. officials about Chinese encroachment into Europe, a top diplomat from the communist nation said Saturday. Pence — amplifying warnings by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — told the […]
  • Heather Nauert Withdraws From Consideration For U.N. Ambassador 17th Feb 2019
    Emma Bowman, NPR, February 16; on Nauert, see below Image from entry, with caption: Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert withdrew herself from consideration for the nomination of U.S. ambassador to the U.N. on Saturday.State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert withdrew herself from consideration on Saturday for the nomination of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations."I […]
  • Blast from the Past: The Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the United States (2008) 15th Feb 2019
    Public Diplomacy Alumni Association Formerly USIA Alumni AssociationHome | Conduct of Public Diplomacy | Debate over Public Diplomacy | Public Diplomacy Newswire| Join/about PDAApublicdiplomacy.org; see also (1) (2)[JB note: Full text cannot be adequately formated on this blog] The post Blast from the Past: The Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the United States (2008) appeared first on […]
  • Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program: Supporting Projects in Malawi 15th Feb 2019
    www2.fundsforngos.org image (not from entry) from, with caption: U.S. Embassy Lilongwe Deadline OngoingThe Public Affairs Section (PAS) at the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] Small Grants Program.PAS awards a limited number of grants to individuals, […]

RSS Diplo Portal Belgrade

  • Представление программы бесплатного обучения в России 15th Feb 2019
    В Русском доме 13 февраля прошла презентация программы получения бесплатного высшего образования в вузах Российской Федерации. Потенциальные кандидаты смогли получить подробную информацию о условиях ежегодного конкурса на получение стипендий для бесплатного образования в России в рамках выделенных для граждан Сербии квот, который РЦНК проводит в январе-марте, а также информацию о том, как необходимо подавать документы, […]
  • Представљање програма бесплатног студирања у Русији 15th Feb 2019
    У Руском дому је 13. фебруара одржана презентација о програмима добијања бесплатног високог образовања на универзитетима Руске Федерације. Потенцијални кандидати су могли да добију детаљну информацију о условима годишњег конкурса за добијање стипендија за бесплатно образовање у Русији у оквиру квота, које су издвојене за српске држављане. Конкурс организује РЦНК од јануара до марта. Кандидати […]
  • Сербские старшеклассники в гостях у Русского Дома 15th Feb 2019
    13 февраля РЦНК Общество русско-сербско-белорусской дружбы из г.Смедерево организовало посещение РЦНК для группы старшеклассников и их преподавателей из г.Смедерево и г.Велика Плана. Для учеников это был первое знакомство с Русским Домом. Сотрудники РЦНК провели ознакомительную экскурсию и рассказали о истории создания и работе центра. В рамках визита сербские школьники смогли посетить открывшуюся в РЦНК выставку […]

Most Viewed Posts

  • Twitter Suspends Hamas Accounts (1,360)
    By ROBERT MACKEYLast Updated, Sunday, Jan. 19 | Several Twitter accounts used by the military wing of Hamas have been suspended by the social network in recent days, angering the Islamist militants and delighting Israel’s military. #Twitter has suspended the official account of #Hamas, a terrorist group that uses social media to threaten #Israel http://t.co/g1UxKc9fpf
  • Humanitarian Intervention: Advantages and Disadvantages in East Timor and Kosovo (391)
    Have There Been Occasions on Which the Advantages of Humanitarian Intervention Using Armed Force have Outweighed the Disadvantages? Humanitarian intervention can be defined as the attempts of a foreign state to prevent violations of human rights in another state, often through the use of armed force. The use of armed force to protect human rights,
  • Brain drain in Serbia today (389)
    How does the Serbian government cope with the problem of brain drain today? The latest OECD publication, SOPEMI 2014 shows that 39 thousand persons emigrated in 2012 from Serbia to OECD countries only. (At the beginning of the global economic and financial crisis, the emigration from Serbia to OECD countries amounted to 27,000 in 2008.)

How Belgrade based diplomats use Digital Diplomacy and Internet 2016

Diplo Portal Belgrade

Please follow and like us:
Scroll Up

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)