Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Avant-garde Tokyo Olympics posters unveiled

Published:Sunday | January 12, 2020 | 12:00 AM
A man stands in front of a poster created by artist Tomoko Konoike, one of 20 posters officially selected for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.


The official posters are out for this year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The 20 posters have been created by 19 artists in fields ranging from painting to graphic design to photography. Calligraphy and Japanese manga are also represented. Manga is the Japanese art of comics and cartooning, which is very famous in the host country.

The posters were first put on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. They will remain on display at the museum in east Tokyo till February 16.

The posters are a tradition at every Olympics and Paralympics, and many previous posters have become collectors’ items. The requirement to create posters is set out in the so-called “host city contract” in which the International Olympic Committee establishes the rules for the preparation and management of the games.

Olympic themes

The Summer Olympics open at Tokyo’s new National Stadium on July 24 and are followed by the Paralympics on August 25.

Of the 20 posters, 12 are based on Olympic themes and eight were inspired by the Paralympics. Several feature wheelchairs, including a graphic vision of the violence in the sport of wheelchair rugby.

Many of the images are far from traditional, showcasing bright colours and curious forms. In many of the avant-garde images, it is difficult to discern the exact tie to the Olympics or Paralympics. Very few even feature a prominent display of the Tokyo Olympic or Paralympic logos.

That also goes for the five Olympic rings, which are seldom featured.

Some of the titles are also eye-catching: “Space Kicker” by painter Shinro Ohtake; “The Sky Above the Great Wave off the coast of Kanagawa” by manga artist Hirohiko Araki; “Open” by calligrapher Koji Kakinuma; “Higher than the Rainbow” by photographer Mika Ninagawa; “Offense No. 7” by artist Tomoyuki Shinki; and “flow line” by graphic designer Daijiro Ohaha.