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  KAZUMASA NAGAI   Bojidar Ikonomov
International Triennial of Stage Poster – Sofia

DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion
  A Further Milestone in Bulgarian-Japanese Cultural Exchange
As a complement to operation of ginza graphic gallery (ggg) in Tokyo and publication of the gggBooks series and other printed works, in 2000 the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion launched the DNP Graphic Design Archives and began collecting, preserving and cataloguing posters and other important graphic design works. As of March 2011 the Archives incorporate some 8,300 works by 111 artists from both Japan and abroad.
Meanwhile, in 2008 and 2009 the Foundation separately inaugurated archives respectively dedicated to the works of the late Ikko Tanaka and Shigeo Fukuda, following donations of these designers’ complete bodies of works by their families. In 2010 yet another archive was created dedicated to Kazumasa Nagai, following the designer’s personal donation of his complete works and materials.
The Foundation initiated these archiving projects as a means of donating graphic design works—important social assets—to major art museums and galleries worldwide for perpetual preservation, management and display. Through such international exchanges the Foundation aims to promote mutual understanding and sharing of diverse values transcending national boundaries or ethnic differences.
In Japan, graphic design is closely connected to the nation’s economic vicissitudes. Ikko Tanaka, Kazumasa Nagai and Shigeo Fukuda were among the fortunate designers who flourished as Japan marked miraculous growth in the 1960s (capped by the Tokyo Olympics of 1964), the 1970s (highlighted by Osaka Expo ’70) and the 1980s, when Japan was widely hailed as “No. 1.”
Ikko Tanaka (1930-2002) is known for his designs blending Japanese tradition with a contemporary flair. Extracting myriad cultural elements from traditional precedents, he sublimated these elements in a way that pointed to new directions in Japanese design. Kazumasa Nagai (b. 1929) began with geometric abstractions and otherworldly constructions and then suddenly entered a representational realm depicting animals. Today, in his “LIFE” series he continues to probe the inner cosmos (source) of life itself. Shigeo Fukuda (1932-2009) is famed for his sophisticated humor and inimitable wit backed by his cynical perspective on life. He produced a large body of works that make use of visual trickery and illusions. Together these three artists, each different from the other, created design works of remarkable diversity; and in the process they forged an era in which Japanese poster art flourished like a wondrous bouquet of rich beauty rarely seen in the world.
It is a source of tremendous pride for us that an exhibition of the posters of Ikko Tanaka, Kazumasa Nagai and Shigeo Fukuda—three graphic designers representative of Japan—has been realized in Bulgaria. This event has been achieved through the efforts and cooperation of many organizations and individuals, including the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Japan, Mr. Bojidar Ikonomov, and the International Triennial of the Stage Poster, Sofia (ITSP). Through a total of 210 posters—70 each from the vast bodies of works of the three featured designers—the exhibition introduces the quintessence of Japanese poster art.
In May 1999 ggg mounted the “Contemporary Bulgarian Graphic Design Exhibition” featuring works by Mr. Bojidar Ikonomov and seven of his contemporaries. The show was greeted with great acclaim. In Bulgaria, we understand, the number of students of Japanese language has tripled in the past three years, and Japanese lessons have been introduced into elementary school curriculums from grade 1. It is our sincere hope that through this exhibition of Japanese posters the cultural ties between Bulgaria and Japan will deepen even further.
Eishi Kitazawa
General Manager of ggg Division
DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion

October 25, 2011 (Monday), 6 pm
UBA "Raiko Aleksiev" Gallery, 125 Rakovski Str., Sofia