I’m very chuffed to be able to work with Alliance Française in Brisbane to put together an exhibition of posters from Mai 68. It will feature about 20 of the most significant posters from my collection. I hope it can function as both a memory aide, and as a prompt to future thought and action.
I definitely recognise (and feel) the contradictions inherent in collecting and exhibiting objects that were made for purely political and revolutionary ends – and the potential fetishisation that could be the result.
The Atelier Populaire put it best themselves:
“The posters produced by the ATELIER POPULAIRE are weapons in the service of the struggle and are 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.
To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or to consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. This is why the ATELIER POPULAIRE has always refused to put them on sale.
Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an “outside” observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the ruling class.
That is why these works should not be taken as the final outcome of an experience, but as an inducement for finding, through contact with the masses, new levels of action, both on the cultural and the political plane.”