Tokyo 2020 official art posters by Chris Ofili, Viviane Sassen and Naoki Urasawa unveiled
Part of a longstanding tradition for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the collection of posters have been designed by 20 Japanese and international artists to promote the events, and form "cultural and artistic legacies".
- Jenny Brewer
- 7 January 2020
Official posters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have gone on show at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring designs by both Japanese and international artists such as Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen, British painter Chris Ofili, French illustrator Philippe Weisbecker and Manga artist Naoki Urasawa.
Japanese graphic designer Taku Satoh, photographer Takashi Homma and painter Shinro Ohtake have contributed to an aesthetically diverse series of 12 posters inspired by the Olympic Games, while another Manga artist Hirohiko Araki, calligrapher Koji Kakinuma, artists Tomoyuki Shinki and Chihiro Mori, and photographer/film director Mika Ninagawa have made artworks celebrating the Paralympics.
Sassen’s image deconstructs and abstracts the Olympic logo, adorning a photograph with large dots of colourful inks. The photographer says in a statement that she wanted to make an image that was “playful, colourful and meaningful… to depict the joy of play.” Meanwhile, Philippe Weisbecker’s characteristically minimalist image depicts the Olympic stadium as a line drawing on rice paper.
Taku Satoh’s hand-drawn poster shows the five Olympic rings out of their usual formation, and patterned lines mapping their different trajectories towards their final spot on the logo. “This poster design expresses a future where each athlete, from whichever part of the world, competes by bringing their own unique talents, culminating in a sum greater than its parts, a harmony that is the Olympics,” Satoh explains. “Although a still, rather than moving image, it is designed to evoke a sense of motion in the viewer’s imagination.”
Artist Asao Tokolo has created two posters, one for each of the Games, and took a mathematical approach inspired by the Tokyo 1964 designers who “relied on compasses and rulers for their creations”. His design features a complicated motif of connected geometric shapes drawn initially by hand and completed digitally.
Naoki Urasawa has created a single page of a sports Manga, a genre he believes to be almost unique to Japan. “Sports manga played a significant role in the evolution and success of Japanese manga because the weekly serial comic was the perfect format for capturing the excitement of sporting events,” he explains. Urasawa says his poster attempts to convey “representations that transcend sporting events, race and gender. Everybody gets a turn. Now it’s your turn!”
The exhibition opens today until 16 February 2020 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; see all the posters here. The summer Olympics start on 24 July 2020.
GalleryTokyo 2020 official art posters
Tokyo 2020 official art poster by Taku Satoh