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The Big Screen: Film Posters of All Time

The exhibition "The Big Screen" presents three hundred original film posters dating from the early 1900s to the 2020s, all chosen from the Graphic Design Collection of the Kulturforum's art library.

  • Boris Bilinsky, Metropolis, Detail, 1927

    Boris Bilinsky, Metropolis, Detail, 1927

  • Gerda Dassing, Solo Sunny, Detail, 1979

    Gerda Dassing, Solo Sunny, Detail, 1979

  • Unbekannt, Quo vadis?, Detail, 1913

    Unbekannt, Quo vadis?, Detail, 1913

  • Werbeatelier Degen, Sean Connery als James Bond 007 in Ian Flemings Feuerball, Detail, 1965

    Werbeatelier Degen, Sean Connery als James Bond 007 in Ian Flemings Feuerball, Detail, 1965

  • Regine Schulz, Burckhard Labowski, Star Trek, Detail, 1985

    Regine Schulz, Burckhard Labowski, Star Trek, Detail, 1985

  • BLT Communications, Das Schweigen der Lämmer, Detail, 1991

    BLT Communications, Das Schweigen der Lämmer, Detail, 1991

  • Blick in die Ausstellung „Großes Kino. Filmplakate aller Zeiten“

    Blick in die Ausstellung „Großes Kino. Filmplakate aller Zeiten“

Since the dawn of cinema, posters have played a key role in publicizing films. Posters put a movie on the streets and captivate the imagination. The exhibition The Big Screen: Film Posters of All Time presents three hundred original film posters dating from the early 1900s to the 2020s, all chosen from the Graphic Design Collection at the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library), Kulturforum, with the help of international guests from the film world.

A Graphic Snapshot

Every movie needs a poster. Even in the digital era, it is the most important tool for visual communication. A good film poster is both an advertisement and an artwork. It condenses the film’s plot into a single powerful image, capturing the atmosphere and introducing the main characters. A film poster sparks curiosity without revealing too much. It astonishes, amuses, and perplexes – it sparks excitement, memories, exhilaration, and admiration.

… of All Time

The first film posters appeared in cities shortly after the cinematograph was invented in 1895. With three hundred posters on display, this exhibition traces the history of the film poster from 1905 until today, from the narrative expressionist lithographs of the silent-film era and the world-renowned 1960s graphic designs for Neue Filmkunst and Atlas, to today’s designs poised between paper and pixel. Posters from France, Poland, the US, and other countries appear alongside works from Germany. Spanning twelve decades, this exhibition quite literally presents film posters of all time.

Professionals and Celebrities

What defines a good film poster is very much in the eye of the beholder. Personal preferences and experiences each play an important role. This is why The Big Screen is curated in collaboration with twenty-six film industry professionals who helped to select the film posters from over 5,000 objects held in the Graphic Design Collection. In cooperation with the Berlinale, these individuals from the worlds of acting, directing, movie theater management, film studies, art, and graphic design were each invited to choose their favorite poster. They explain their choices in an accompanying audioguide.

The contributors are Anna Berkenbusch, Christian Bräuer, Carlo Chatrian, Adrian Curry, Thea Ehre, Maryna Er Gorbach, Liv Lisa Fries, Maria Fuchs, Douglas Gordon, Graf Haufen, Ella Lee, Natalie MacMahon, Vasilis Marmatakis, Lemohang Mosese, Maximilian Mundt, Elfi Mikesch, Helke Misselwitz, Ulrike Ottinger, Asli Özge, Kida Khodr Ramadan, Mariette Rissenbeek, Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss, Albrecht Schuch, Simon Spiegel, Verena von Stackelberg, and Jasmin Tabatabai.

From Art House to Blockbuster

The guests’ selection ranges from film classics such as The Golem to cult films like Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. There are works by Isolde Baumgart, Helmut Brade, Dorothea Fischer-Nosbisch, Hans Hillmann, among other outstanding graphic designers. And the chronological overview of film posters includes blockbusters such as Jaws, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, as well as posters for art house and independent films spanning Neorealismo, New Hollywood, and work by Pedro Almodóvar. The star exhibit is for Metropolis, an oversized poster (2.20 x 3 m) designed by Boris Bilinsky in 1927, which is thought to be the only copy held by a museum. The exhibition ends with fan art, hand-painted oversized posters by Götz Valien, and a peek at the current acquisition strategy.

Trailers and Children’s Activities

Naturally you’ll find moving images in the exhibition, too. An integrated “preview theater” shows opening scenes and title sequences, presented in visual dialogue with the posters. Children are also invited to “Follow Paula Popcorn!” This mascot leads them on the family trail, with interactive stations for listening, touching, playing, and drawing.

Runtime: Fri, 03/11/2023 to Sun, 03/03/2024

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