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David Bowie's poster for the 1995 Montreux Jazz Festival

 

David Bowie has been commissioned by the committee of the Montreux Jazz Festival to design the artwork for the Montreux Jazz Festival Poster for 1995. It's an extraordinary piece of art based loosely on the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the effects it has had upon all of our lives. Visually it includes a simplistic graphic of the dropping of the atomic bomb, an "M" symbol intimating power and a mysterious female figure "Ramona A. Stone", a character David has been building into a number of recent work projects. David created the poster entirely on an Apple Mac Computer. The poster will be used for all promotion of the Festival appearing on billboards, print media and all associated medium.

 

A Montreux Jazz Festival Poster for 1995:

 

The 50th Anniversary of the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima

 

"Since the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, the idea of an apocalyptic process has fully integrated itself into our consciousness. This suggested "violence transience" co-exists with feelings of chaos-surfing in the way we perceive our social condition. There seems to be no moral authority. The trusted canons of truth seem to have collapsed. There are no natural conclusions to the events in our lives. Even public memory is contested memory.

 

Many see the dropping of the atomic bomb as the beginning of nuclear proliferation. Others saw it as the most rational way to stop an ever escalating war. Some have no knowledge of the event at all. The poster I created for the Montreux Jazz Festival incorporates layering, juxtaposition and image manipulation, all managed in a Mac computer.

 

The main subjects of the poster are:

 

1. A simplistic graphic of the dropping of an atomic bomb circa 1946

 

The sea-scape content of this illustration gave me an impression of Lake Geneva, this presenting an ambiguous focal point.

 

2. An "M" symbol.

 

The "M" symbol placed at the center of a small explosion-cloud has a resonance that intimates power. This can be interpreted as the positive power of music or the negative power of nuclear warfare. There is also a vague allusion to other famous "M" symbols. MacDonalds or MTV for instance.

 

3. The female figure of "Ramona A. Stone".

 

Ramona is a character that I've been incorporating into a number of recent work projects. She is powerful looking, subversive and extremely in touch with a fragmented society. She is both participant and creator. A member of society or its destroyer.

 

Overall, the unpredictable nature of the combined images in the poster produce a sense of unease. For me, the poster suggests both the festivity of the event itself but also resurrects the specter of an unwilling alliance we have made with destructive forces. As in any social confrontation, it contains contradictory information. It is not presented as the pairing of dichotomies but, rather, as a full spectrum. It can be seen as a merging of cultural conditions rather than their polarization."

 

DAVID BOWIE

 (From the Montreux Festival WWW site)

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