By Christos Zambounis
When I arrived at the port of Skala in Patmos last July, a uniquely aesthetic poster caught my attention. It had a strange vertical shape and was comprised of three images. The middle image, the most obvious, depicts a nude woman lying on her back with a bright reddish color in background. Her full breast is covered with her left hand, while her right hand is lazily placed backwards, extending the stretch of white skin in the shot. As I found out later, it was a “découpage”, as called in cinematic term, and was the poster of “Teorema”, a masterpiece that Pierre Paolo Pasolini had filmed.
The “Amarcord”, another Federico Fellini masterpiece is represented by a scene of clowns, while the picture is completed with an aerial photo of Patmos.
Point one: For the past four years, the Island of the Apocolypse organized an international film festival under the title “Aegean Film Festival”.
Point two: A portion of Yannis Galanis’ collection with the theme “Film Poster Exhibition from the 60’s & 70’s” was hosted as part of the festival.
Point three: Cinematic posters in their original form are now considered to be artwork. In a conversation I had with the collector during the exhibition, he answered the relevant question by informing me that his collection emerged “by luck, research and aesthetics”.
He started with buying copies of posters from a movie theater, and along the way he realized that a multitude of graphic schools existed, depending on the period, the country, the political climate and the taboos of the time. For example, he showed me the differences between an Italian billboard from a 60’s movie and a corresponding, smaller size from Germany for the same film when it was projected again two years later.
His approach has at least two criteria: his favorite films and the aesthetics of the poster. The psychedelic colors, geometric shapes and provocative images would be the next criteria, giving precedence to unknown films, which had a more creative visual than the mainstream.
Then he explained the issues of the original and the copy. The originals are considered objects of contemporary art and may easily be exhibited in the living room of a house, next to another painting or another artistic photo.
As the collector points out, a specific type of poster known in Italy as Locandina is distinguished by its unique vertical shape and its intense visual elements. “It’s interesting,” he notes, “that in a time marked by social uprisings, including the sexual revolution, how Italian poster designers were influenced by them and in turn influenced the public.”