The Hayward Project Space
May 68: Street Posters from the Paris Rebellion Thursday 1 May 2008 - Sunday 1 June 2008 , 10am – 6pm (daily), Late night Fridays until 10pm
The posters of the Paris uprising of May 1968 comprise some of the most brilliant graphic works ever to have been associated with a movement for social and political change. This selection of original posters coincides with The Hayward’s 40th birthday and celebrates the vibrant activist graphics and revolutionary spirit of summer 1968. (well that's what they say)
In Paris, on the 16 May, students and faculty staff took over the Ecole des Beaux Arts to establish the Atelier Populaire (the Popular Workshop). The organisation went on to produce hundreds of silkscreen posters in an unprecedented outpouring of political graphic art. In a statement, the Atelier Populaire declared the posters “weapons in the service of the struggle… an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centres of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the factories.”
In conjunction with the exhibition, Keep Calm Gallery is offering a limited-edition book that contains hand screen-printed reproductions of 40 of the original posters. They will offer an extremely limited number (less than 10 each) of printer's proofs exclusively in their East Dulwich gallery. More info on how to attain one of these rare prints at Keep Calm.
Les événements began on 22 March with a small protest in the suburban campus of Nanterre University, led by lecturer Alain Geismar and students Jacques Sauvageot and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (a French-German intellectual firebrand, whom the media soon anointed "Danny the Red"). The flame quickly spread to campuses already aroused by groups campaigning against the Vietnam war and eager to mobilise against a conservative, hierarchical, immobile - and old - society. The wave then spread to the factories, where workers staged the biggest (9 million were involved) and longest (almost a month) general strike in French history.
Alain Geismar revealed in the BBCRadio 4 programme last night that from the very start they were in telephone contact with the head of the Paris Police.
It is also the 50th anniversary of the founding of the 5th Republic by referendum.