TPT 2006 text: Dušan Junek

Dušan Junek: Continuity

15 years of existence of the Trnava Poster Triennial leaves no questions about the value of this specialised international event and its place in the increasing number of exhibitions and biennials world-wide. Naturally and at the same time, we are interested in its future continuation. My work as a graphic designer makes me reflect on new ways for the poster as a category of visual communication and my involvement in the organisation of this event brings me to think about the possibilities of the formation and presentation of the triennial. The pillars on which the triennial rests are solid: an international competitive exhibition of professional graphic designers, an international competition of students of art academies and solo exhibitions of significant and world-known personalities in graphic design – members of the International Jury of the TPT. In the last category are included solo and thematic exhibitions, but also lectures, curatorial projects. The aim of such a conception is to reflect the state of the art of poster culture with its ideological and artistic tendencies all around the world. In addition to this, we want to show various viewpoints in the huge community of expert graphic designers. We want to map the situation of visual culture world-wide as well as to encourage all creative incentives as opposed to those that are trendy. Literacy in visual culture depends on the competences of cultural producers – on the quality of their work and their responsibility for its coverage and impact. The purpose of the triennial from its very beginning has been based on meeting these objectives. We tried to use our knowledge and to learn from such events abroad, to employ the talent and creative outcomes of our top graphic designers and to give our young and youngest generations of graphic designers a chance not only to see the best works from around the world, but also to confront these works with those of theirs. It was on my instigation that also representatives of the generation of emerging graphic designers take part in this year’s organization committee of the event so that they were given the opportunity to realise their ideas in meeting the objectives of the triennial as well as to contribute to its future formation. Much will depend on their zeal, skills and their persistence in contributing to the future of the triennial, making the best of its current reputation, strongly carved by the founding generation.

I admit that such thoughts often end with the term continuity. Maybe it is also because this term and its contexts become often the reason of excited conversations and disputes either in the professional environment, generation-gap-related debates or many other common situations. Time goes by fast and there seems no time for connotations, coherency or continuity. However, I think that nothing really works without continuity. Well, I mean without continuity nothing works well, in high quality, and no work is wise or successful. It is impossible, in any creative discipline, to reach the top while ignoring the steps taken by predecessors. Values, courageous and encouraging experiments, acceptance of many different approaches that shaped (also recent) history are worth recognition and respect, because these new discoveries and developments are very important stimuli. Continuity is of key importance not only for this year of the triennial, because it also has accompanied the event throughout its fifteen-year existence.

A sad thing happened last year, when the astonishing and many-branched tree of Polish poster, phenomenal in this field, lost one of its precious leaves, when we lost the greatest poster designer of the 20th century, a legendary teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Professor Henryk Tomaszewski. Everyone who belongs to the huge family of poster designers bows in admiration for his brilliant work and his unrivalled personality. Many thanks and rest in piece, Professor Henryk!

When speaking of continuity in relation to the Trnava Poster Triennial, I cannot omit remembrance upon situations when many graphic designers, also those most significant who contributed to this event with their invaluable advice, experience, and critical comments, but also to those friendly and supporting statements which helped the triennial to take its place among such international events world-wide. As organisers of the event, we are grateful for their support and commitment. The status of the honorary guest of the Trnava Poster Triennial 2006 is our homage to significant graphic designers for their professional work and humane approach in their activities, also in connection to the Trnava Poster Triennial. This year, the organising committee of the TPT gave the status of honorary guest to a legend of graphic design, Jan Rajlich Sr ., the founder-member of the International Biennale of Graphic Design Brno. Even despite his rival situation to the Trnava Poster Triennial, from its very beginnings; he was and still is a man of great help and support to our event. Undoubtedly, he is the right person to give the award to the winner of the student competition.

To mention the students and their place in this competitive exhibition; in last year’s catalogue I noticed that the category of young graphic designers remarkably increased in number as well as did increase the overwhelming quality of their work. This 6th year of the triennial has exceeded our expectations. More than half a thousand registered works by students of 42 art academies from Europe, Asia, North and Central America and Africa are of the quality that can compare to that of their older colleagues – professionals. More than a thousand posters were sent to the competition by professional graphic designers and despite the selection process by the selection jury (which takes place also because of space limitations) the International Jury faced a challenging task. 2006, the 6th year of the international competitive exhibition the Trnava Poster Triennial is again a world-wide festival of posters and graphic design in its many forms and we are glad that it is again held under the auspices of ICOGRADA , the International Council of Graphic Design Associations. Although the main event is held in Trnava, its accompanying events take place in Bratislava. The relationship between Trnava, the capital of international poster and Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia proved to be reasonable and necessary in the past, which means that continuity is preserved.

The posters exhibited at this year’s triennial are more than just genuine artworks, with graphic, photographic and computer messages; they are also marvellous birds that will fly away and never come back. But next year at the triennial, new birds will come flying…..

Dušan Junek
Chairman of the Trnava Poster Triennial 2006

Source: catalogue TPT 2006