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Goldmuseum Taipei - Metal Crafts Competition 2018.
RISD.
Cranbrook.

Faces. Posters from Japan by Ikko Tanaka

Exhibition  /  03 Mar 2018  -  17 Jun 2018
Published: 04.12.2017
Ikko Tanaka. Print: The 28th Sankei Kanze Noh Performance, 1981. Silkscreen. Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum. For a Noh performance of the Kanze school at Sankei Theatre, Osaka. . Ikko Tanaka
Print: The 28th Sankei Kanze Noh Performance, 1981
Silkscreen
Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum
For a Noh performance of the Kanze school at Sankei Theatre, Osaka. 

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Intro
Inspired by the Bauhaus, American Jazz and the aesthetic tradition of Japan, Ikko Tanaka (1930-2002) remains one of the most influential Japanese graphic designers. 

Artist list

Ikko Tanaka
The exhibition is dedicated to the theme of the face in the poster oeuvre of this communicator between Japanese culture and the West. The parade of faces gliding past the ambling viewer is akin to a Gallery of Beauties, rendered in radical geometric abstraction, calligraphic expressivity or captured in photographs, emblematic, distorted, as impenetrable mask, surreal, playful … Sublimely seductive or theatrically tantalizing, all of these faces want to catch the viewer’s attention, be it for Noh or Kabuki theatre, exhibitions, communications companies or a collection by fashion designer Issey Miyake.
 
Born in 1930 in Nara, Tanaka studied at the highly traditional Kyoto City University of Arts – Japan’s oldest art school. After his studies, he initially worked as a pattern designer in the textile industry, then as an exhibition designer, before founding his own studio in Tokyo in 1963. Graphic works by Tanaka were shown at Documenta 3 as early as 1964.

His multi-facetted oeuvre ranges from art direction for companies including Seibu, Mazda and Shiseido to book design, typographic experiments and the concept of the no-name-design store Muji. He gained international renown mostly through his posters, designed for cultural events such as theatre shows, dance performances, concerts, festivals and exhibitions, but also for type foundries, communications companies and fashion designers, as well as on environmental and political themes.
 
Ikko Tanaka’s style could be outlined as combining bold abstraction with the balancing of opposites; it is expressive, elegant and powerful. Fellow designer American Ivan Chermayeff dubbed him a “distiller of visual truth”.
Ikko Tanaka. Print: The 6th National Culture Festival: Chiba ’91, 1991. Offset. Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum. For the largest national culture festival of Japan. Ikko Tanaka
Print: The 6th National Culture Festival: Chiba ’91, 1991
Offset
Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum
For the largest national culture festival of Japan

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Ikko Tanaka. Print: The 200th Anniversary of Sharaku 1795-1995, 1995. Paper, Paint. Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum. For the bicentennial of legendary Ukiyo-e woodblock artist and Noh actor Tōshūsai Sharaku.. Ikko Tanaka
Print: The 200th Anniversary of Sharaku 1795-1995, 1995
Paper, Paint
Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum
For the bicentennial of legendary Ukiyo-e woodblock artist and Noh actor Tōshūsai Sharaku.

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Ikko Tanaka. Print: The Dramatic Power of Script, 1993. Offset. Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum. For type foundry Morisawa, Osaka/Tokyo.. Ikko Tanaka
Print: The Dramatic Power of Script, 1993
Offset
Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum
For type foundry Morisawa, Osaka/Tokyo.

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Ikko Tanaka. Print: The Third International Hokusai Conference, 1998. Offset. Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum. Ikko Tanaka
Print: The Third International Hokusai Conference, 1998
Offset
Photo by: Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum
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