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“Fotografie der Gegenwart” leaflet

Contributed by Stéphane Darricau on Dec 17th, 2016. Artwork published in .
    Dexel-leaflet.jpg
    Source: https://www.moma.org Museum of Modern Art, New York. Jan Tschichold Collection, Gift of Philip Johnson. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The exhibition Fotografie der Gegenwart (“Photography of Today”) was first shown from 20 January to 17 February 1929 at Museum Folkwang in Essen, and later at ten additional venues including Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. [MoMa]

    German designer Walter Dexel (1890–1973) designed all the publicity material for the exhibition with Paul Renner’s Futura. One notable exception is the poster (below) for the event in Magdeburg, which was produced using linocut — i.e. even what looks like Futura (the six all-caps lines at the bottom of the poster) was actually cut by hand at the printer’s (W. Pfannkuch & Co. in Magdeburg).

    Dexel-poster.jpg
    Source: https://www.moma.org License: All Rights Reserved.

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    2 Comments on ““Fotografie der Gegenwart” leaflet”

    1. Dec 17th, 2016  1:52 pm

      Very nice, Stéphane, thank you for your contribution.

      The exclusive use of caps might suggest that Dexel was similarly skeptical about Futura’s lowercase as Dwiggins was, see his poster design for an exhibition that also took place in early 1929, but in the pamphlet listing all the participants (large view; the reverse of the pamphlet pictured above?) Dexel used Futura in mixed case.

      The mirrored lettering may have been made in reference to the Magdeburg venue named after a local lake, the Adolf-Mittag-See.

      See more of his works from the MoMA collection.

    2. Dec 17th, 2016  4:01 pm

      Thank you Florian.
      Your picture is definitely the reverse of the leaflet published for the Magdeburg showing of the exhibition.

      As for the poster, I strongly believe the black and white lettering and horizontal bars, as well as the mirrored composition, also allude to the positive/negative, etc., principles which lie at the heart of the photographic process itself — making this one of the most conceptually powerful works of the whole Neue Typographie era.

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