An exhibition of Olympic posters drawn from the extensive poster collection of the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, London, goes on display at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum this Friday.
A Century of Olympic Postersoffers Mumbai a chance to see some of the historic iconography of the Olympic Games, many of which define both the art and the sporting landmarks of the generation that produced them.
The exhibition includes the pioneering poster designed for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, a work painted by Swedish artist Olle Hjortzberg and printed by A. Börtzell’s Printing Co., Stockholm. The over 70 other works on exhibit include the stunning Liberty of Expression poster, created by Adolfo Mexiac Calderón for the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and Victor Vasarely and R.B. Kitaj’s iconic work for the 1972 Games in Munich. There’s even the rare chance to see Ilmari Sysimetsä’s poster for the cancelled Helsinki Games of 1940.
Art in sports: One of the posters from the exhibition.Courtesy IOC/V&A
The V&A brings this to Mumbai on the threshold of next year’s Olympic Games in London. In doing so, it casts an eye on the politics of the Olympics as an internationalist, unifying event. The Olympic posters historically reflect the spirit of their time: London in 1948 looked forward to reconstruction in bright, solid colours, and the minimalism of Melbourne 1956 was a bold welcome for the Games into the southern hemisphere.
The global crossover of A Century of Olympic Posters is supported by the UK government-funded World Collections Programme (WCP). According to a statement, WCP “aims to establish and strengthen two-way partnerships with institutions and audiences in India, China, the Middle East and Africa, through innovative projects and exchange of expertise”.
For the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, this show demonstrates a continuing engagement with bringing contemporary art practices to the city. For museum-goers in Mumbai, it’s more than a sporting chance to see the globally definitive design work that the Games have generated.
A Century of Olympic Posters will be on display at the Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Mumbai, from 4 February-15 March.