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Bizarre & Surreal World of Advertising & Propaganda - IMG INT
11-24-2012, 05:39 AM,
Bizarre & Surreal World of Advertising & Propaganda - IMG INT

This is an IMAGE & MEDIA INTENSIVE thread, not intended for the meek or those in love with their own dubious notions of 'sanity.' If you do not want to wait a few minutes for the page to load or you have an older junk computer, please do not visit this thread.

[Image: MorriseyTijuana.jpg]
Morrissey Live in Tijuana concert poster
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Weissmuller / O'Connor (Tarzan & Jane) Coca Cola ad

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This anti-Bolshevik propaganda poster, dated to the Russian Civil War (1919), shows Leon Trotsky (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein) as a devil. Trotsky is being aided by Chinese soldiers, many of whom fought alongside the Bolsheviks (Reds) in the Russian Civil War. The White Army's message reads "Peace and Freedom in Sovdepiya."
11-28-2012, 04:08 AM,
RE: Bizarre & Surreal World of Advertising & Propaganda - IMG INT
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North Korean Propaganda

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WWII Italian Propaganda

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Money could be the deciding factor on if a small pot of caviar is nestled between it and your soggy cucumber sandwich, though. French company Kaviari have launched a series of tiny caviar offerings packaged in, at times hideous colours, for just this purpose. Priced at EUR35 (£30, $50) they weigh in with 15 grams of the good stuff and just 100-calories of the bad. The company says they are perfect “as a dainty snack at any time of day, whenever the fancy strikes”. So, never then? Available in black, gold, silver, blue, fuchsia and apple green, Kaviari’s petite sliding-lid cases come with a small tasting spoon, because at times like this your index finger just won’t cut it. Buyers can choose either Osetra or Kristal caviar varieties, obv.

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An Italian fascist propaganda poster. It says "Defend!" It shows Italy as a child being threatened by three hands: the Jews, the Soviet Union, and the Freemasons (a secret fraternal society). Fascism was opposed to all three groups.
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Poster reads: Fight German animals! We can and must destroy Hitler’s army.

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11-29-2012, 11:59 AM,
RE: Bizarre & Surreal World of Advertising & Propaganda - IMG INT
Quote:Born in 1899 and 1900 to a Swedish father and a Russian mother, the Stenberg brothers initially studied engineering and fine arts. Pioneers of Constructivism, they worked as sculptors, architects and designers of everything from railway carriages to theater sets to women’s shoes, always working in collaboration with each other. But it was as movie poster designers, in the glorious spring of Soviet Cinema, that they excelled. From their first poster for The Eyes of Love in 1923 until Georgii’s untimely death ten years later in a motorcycle accident, they designed more than 300 posters. (Vladimir continued to design film posters, though with less distinction, and was appointed Chief Designer for Moscow’s Red Square. He died in 1982.)

What is extraordinary about the Stenbergs' posters, beyond their amazingly expressive and dynamic use of color, composition and typography, which has rarely been equaled, is that, though they look like photomontage they are actually almost entirely illustration. The ever-inventive Stenbergs had constructed a prototype overhead-projector which would allow them to project filmstrips onto their posters and to copy and embellish faces and bodies (as well as to distort them if necessary), hence their photorealist look. This gave their posters a consistency and quality that would have not been possible to achieve, due to the limitations of the printing processes available at the time, by cutting and pasting photographs onto paper.

[Image: Stenberg_Miss_Mend_MPOTW.jpg?1312742349]
The enormous 81 inch square poster for Miss Mend (Boris Barnet & Fyodor Otsep, USSR, 1926) promises the thrills and spills (as well as a fair share of capitalist indifference) of this epic, four hour long adventure serial, which is one of the few films promoted by the Stenbergs that has actually survived. Set partially in an imagined America, the film was based on a serialized detective novel written by Marietta Shaginian under the yankee nom-de-plume "Jim Dollar." The film, which follows three reporters and an American office girl attempting to stop a biological attack by a cabal of western business leaders determined to wipe the Soviet Union off the face of the earth, was one of the most popular Soviet films of the 1920s although it was condemned by the Soviet press of the time as lightweight "Western-style" entertainment.

In his superb introductory essay to Stenberg Brothers: Constructing a Revolution in Soviet Design, Christopher Mount writes about the projector that the Stenbergs developed to reproduce illustrated versions of film stills:

"With it, the Stenbergs constructed a new, entirely modern perspective, in which each image remains true to its own perpectival rules yet has little realistic connection to other images in the picture as a whole. The variety and juxtaposition of scales, and the frequent subversion of spatial relationships, are extraordinary. For example, in their poster for the film adaptation of the Miss Mend detective stories, one of their finest works, there is no discernible connection between the size of the figures and their relation to the picture plane. Only because the images are drawn, and not made from photographs of dissimilar quality and tone, does the work hold together as a unified conceit."

Mount also notes that the poster owes a great deal to Alexander Rodchenko's covers for the Miss Mend novels.
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Two posters from 1926 and 1927 for The Knight's Move a.k.a. Le miracle des loups (Raymond Bernard, France, 1924) a film set in the 15th century in which Louis XI’s granddaughter defends a town against invading troops and marauding wolves. Despite the Stenberg's symbolic use of the chess board motif it's not clear whether the film actually had anything to do with chess.

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The Stenbergs designed a number of posters for boxing films and seemed to enjoy both the geometry of the boxing ring and attempting to capture the dynamism of the sport. Hence the blurred gloves in the 1926 poster for The Punch/Scrap Iron (Charles Ray, USA, 1921) and the reverberating circles in their 1929 poster for The Boxer's Bride (Johannes Guter, Germany, 1926).

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A 1927 poster for Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, USA, 1924) which plays on the fantasy double life of Buster's sad sack projectionist and the Stenbergs' second 1929 poster for Keaton's The General (Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, USA, 1926). Interesting how both posters work with positive and negative images.

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Two Stenberg posters both centering on photographers or cameramen: The Pencil (director unknown, 1928) and Strange Woman (Ivan Pyriev, USSR, 1929).

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Two of the Stenbergs more comic creations: a 1928 poster for Sporting Fever (Alfred Dobbelt and Boris Nikoforov, USSR, 1928) which is attributed to the brothers even though it is unsigned, and an equally off-kilter 1928 poster for The Mystery of the Windmill or The Sacrifice of Ole the Inventor (Lau Lauritzen, Denmark, 1924) starring the Danish comedy duo Fy and Bi.

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This enormous poster (104" x 80", the size of 8 one-sheets) for the international export of Eisenstein's October (1927) was created in collaboration with Yakov Ruklevsky who is occasionally credited with the brothers. All of the Stenbergs’ posters are dynamic, but there is something especially thrilling and three dimensional about that blue gun-wielding sailor looming out of the top diagonal of the poster and the red revolutionaries pulling the cannon, straining towards the edges of the frame.

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This playful and energetic poster is for The Last Flight (Ivan Pravov, 1929), a film about a circus troupe marooned in southern Russia during the 1917 revolution.

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Another German film, Which of the Two or Manhunt (Nunzio Malasomma, 1926). With its concentric circles and dual figures, it nicely echoes the poster above, though to very different effect. Brilliant use of perspective and depth. Note the Stenbergs' signature bottom right, which reads 2 Stenberg 2.

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A 1927 poster for the German film High Society Wager or The Weather Station (Carl Froelich, 1923) about a social climbing couple who fall victim to gambling, beautifully symbolized by the staircase they are ascending and their emerging nemesis below. The spiral staircase is reminiscent of the Stenbergs' own Constructivist sculptures, and also Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument for the Third International.

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Though this looks as if it might be a poster for a noirish thriller about a man on the run, Cement (Vladimir B. Vilner, 1928) is actually a film about the lives of workers in a cement factory. The man’s head and hand are the only obviously realistic elements in what otherwise could be a Malevich geometric abstraction. The representation of refracted light (which I assume is sunlight streaming into the dark bowels of the factory) and the reflection of light from window panes is exquisite.

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Though it looks like a science-fiction film with aliens invading on surfboards and some outlandish air-sea contraption, SEP (1929) was actually a training film for army personnel, one of two equally bizarre posters the Stenbergs produced for it. Though the Stenbergs apparently never saw a skyscraper, they frequently appear in their posters which are almost exclusively urban in their settings.

[Image: Man_from_the_Forest_MPOTW.jpg?1311427025]
The Man from the Forest (Georgi Stabovi, 1928). Apparently little is known about this Ukrainian film but the poster is one of the best examples of the Stenbergs’ use of extreme close-ups (attuned as they always were to the grammar of cinema) most of which are of women's faces, as also seen below

[Image: A_Woman_of_Paris_MPOTW.jpg?1311427143]
A 1927 poster for Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris (1923) also done in collaboration with Ruklevsky (see their combined signatures). An exquisite and unusual composition, one of many bissected Stenberg designs, but especially interesting in the way the two images merge in those angled bars at the bottom right and the way the credits perfectly marry the curve of the woman’s face.

Written by Adrian Curry

Published on 24 July 2011

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