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A Sense of Movement: Japanese Sports Posters

  • Art
  1. Three colourful framed posters hanging on a white gallery wall.
    Photograph: Supplied
  2. Three colourful framed posters hanging on a white gallery wall.
    Photograph: Supplied
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Time Out Says

Swing through Japan's graphic design history with this clever exhibition cataloguing depictions of the Olympics, table tennis and beyond

Missing the Tokyo Olympics? Us too. Give yourself a trip back to the excitement and aesthetics of the games at the Japan Foundation, Sydney's new exhibition A Sense of Movement: Japanese Sports Posters. Better yet, get a sense of a wider spectrum of sports and the ways brilliant Japanese graphic designers have expressed thrilling kinetic energy in 2D forms. See 24 posters by six designers – from masters of the form to emerging graphic stars.

The exhibition is inspired by a lecture by ginza graphic gallery curator Eishi Kitazawa held at the Japan Foundation, London about how these graphic posters can convey a "sense of movement". You'll see examples of this with works from Ikkō Tanaka, Katsumi Asaba, Shigeo Fukuda, Tadanori Yokoo, Yuri Uenishi and Yūsaku Kamekura.

Tracing a short history of sports and design in Japan, the exhibition shows how designers have combined humour, sharp compositions and tradition to portray punchy sport promotions. See a reproduction of the original poster for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by Yūsaku Kamekura, an important tipping point in Japan's post-war identity. And marvel at the cheeky 1991 World Table Tennis Championships posters designed by Katsumi Asaba that weave historical paintings into the zippy competitive pastime.

A Sense of Movement: Japanese Sports Posters is co-presented by the Japan Foundation, Sydney and the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion. Catch it before January 2022, when it will pack up and tour around the world.

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