Why do artists who think of themselves as creative rarely design a
poster, or at most a cultural one, supposing they are at all
inclined to exchange their canvas for velvet offset paper? Why on earth
are even graphic designers so keen to design cultural posters? And why
has Heinz Edelmann been lost from view for the last ten years in some
cultural backwater, although he is so badly needed in advertising? (The
author has an advertising agency.Ed.)
So if there should recently have been rumours in advertising circles
that Heinz Edelmann is thinking, after all these years, of working for
advertising again, and not only on his highbrow Klett-Cotta book
jackets and his handsome WDR posters, the reactions are likely to be
mixed. Comments are going to range from 'What, he's still alive?' and
'He must be in a bad way' to 'If it's true, advertising stands to gain'.
This last view corresponds exactly to that of the present writer, who
however is here constrained to write instead about Edelmann's posters
for the theatre and for West German radio and television, even if he can
write from the standpoint of an advertising man and not that of an art
critic. If the latter had to say his say it would probably sound something
like this: 'Where a Platonic variant of a rationalist conception of reality
dominates in a given society, the function of poster art is to transform
the reality of experience by interpretation so as to achieve its ideal
realization in the poster. Heinz Edelmann has succeeded, in his posters,
in realizing the true reality of things by perfecting their phenomeno-
logical space-time existence in his productions.'
Anyone who gets left behind here, as I do, must approach the
phenomenological Heinz Edelmann from a different angle. We should
perhaps begin by defining what he does: drawings, illustrations,
paintings, graphic design, typography. Then the question arises: Is he a
genius in one of these fields, or reasonably good in most, orare such
things possible?a genius in all? I tend to think, daring as it ma
sound, that he is in fact a genius in alltypography, graphic desigï
illustration, drawing, painting. When in the early stages of our al
quaintance I once called him an illustrator, he told me: 'I'm not a
illustrator. I'm a layout man. I only happen to use my own illustri
tions in my layouts.'
As far as the theatre and WDR posters reproduced here are cor
cerned, I can't decide what I most admire, the idea, the drawing, tt
layout or the typography. And anyone who admires as much as I do h:
the right to criticize a little. Edelmann once told me: 'When I have 2.
idea for a poster and do a drawing, I start as simply as possible, ju
putting the idea on paper. Then I change it and complicate the idea till'
hardly understand the drawing myself.'
And my subjective criticism of many Edelmann posters begins an
ends at exactly this point. A few have got slightly out of hand as far
their straight understandableness is concerned. But that is perhaps on
the result of my distorted vision as an advertising man, who would lil
to see everything neatly aimed at a target public and is by definitie
unable to grasp that a poster may also be a form of art for art's sake.
But what disturbs me most in looking at Edelmann's productions
the question: Where are the young poster designers who are not on
able to do nice drawings you can fit a headline into but can also hand'
poster art inclusive of copy, drawing and layout? Edelmann is
follower in the footsteps of Toulouse-Lautrec, Cassandre and Ber
hard. But the followers of Heinz Edelmann are hardly in view, at let)
in this country. Is he a sort of dinosaur? Are the conditions for tH
development of poster art so bad, or are there just so few new talent-
One consolation remains: Edelmann is only forty-eight. The dini
saur is still alive and still designing posters.
[Deutscher Text: Seite 16]
[Texte frangais: page 17]
Heinz Edelmann's work is well known to our readers. Earlier articles we'
devoted to his illustrations, theatre posters and programmes, book covers an
advertising graphics in Graphis 105, 134, 166, 199 (posters for the WDR) and 2c
(book jackets for Klett-Cotta). On the following pages we present a selection from tK
work of this versatile and prolific artist covering the last two years, mostly done fö
theatres and for the West German radio and television authority WDR. Editor
Das (Euvre von Heinz Edelmann ist unseren Lesern bestens bekannt. Friihe'
Artikel haben wir seinen Illustrationen, Theaterplakaten und -programmen, Buck
umschlagen und seiner Werbegraphik gewidmet: Graphis 105, 134, 166, 199 (Plaka.
für den WDR) und 209 (Buchumschlage fiir Klett-Cotta). Auf den folgenden Seite
zeigen wir Arbeiten, die dieser vielseitige Künstler wahrend der letzten zwei Jah
vorwiegend für Theater und den Westdeutschen Rundfunk ausgeführt hat. Redakti
L'ceuvre de Heinz Edelmann est bien connu de nos lecteurs, qui ont pu étudier si
illustrations, ses affiches et programmes de théatre, ses couvertures de livres
travaux publicitaires dans Graphis 105, 134, 166, 199 (affiches pour le WDR) et 2<,
(jaquettes de livres pour Klett-Cotta). Sur les pages qui suivent, on trouvera un cho'^
des nombreux travaux que cet artiste aux multiples talents a réalisés ces deux dernièr?
années, notamment pour le théatre et le WDR. Ea Rédaction