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Stefan Landsberger’s Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages

In a recent story I told you about an exhibition focused on propaganda posters of the Cultural Revolution. This time, let’s continue on the Chinese propaganda poster theme with a visit to Stefan Landsberger’s “Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages”.

Landsberger’s site presents an even broader historical view of China through this medium, featuring posters from about the time of the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 until the present day (recent categories include “Falun Gong” and “Beijing Olympics 2008″). As the site tells us, “So-called propaganda art has played a major supporting role in the many campaigns that were designed to mobilize the people, and throughout the People’s Republic, the propaganda poster has been the favored vehicle through which art conveyed model behavior.”

Landsberger has been collecting Chinese political posters for many years and has assembled a collection of some 1,300 titles, spanning five decades of Chinese poster production related to the political, social and economic movements and developments that have found their way into visual propaganda over the past several decades. So vast is his collection that it has provided materials for a number of exhibitions, both on- and offline.

Although the images on Landsberger’s site aren’t so large that they fill your computer screen, the useful commentary he has offered provides us with insights beyond those we could gain with images and their titles alone. On the downside, the site design sometimes can leave the visitor “lost” - not sure where you are or how you got there - but the handy Site Map will get you back on track quickly enough (http://www.iisg.nl/~landsberger/map.html).

Stefan Landsberger’s Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages begin online at http://www.iisg.nl/~landsberger/index.html.

Also interesting in its own right is Landsberger’s “confession” of how he has built his collection, sometimes to the dismay of clerks and onlookers in Chinese post offices. This account is available at http://www.iisg.nl/exhibitions/chairman/landsberger.html.

March 2003

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