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Tate Britain's smart campaign leaves images behind

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Nowadays, it seems that communication is operating exclusively through visual means: strong typography combined with statement images, in carefully thought-through compositions - there you go, a successful and accordingly flashy campaign. This is especially true for art galleries, where base material is available at hand, expressing the essence of the institution’s identity in the most self-evident way. Some selected artworks along a few witty catchphrases will do the job, as such campaigns do not on only look good, but are easy to comprehend on the go, requiring little contribution on the audience’s part. With such attitude, however, the aim of art is mistargeted: images are used for marketing purposes, and their original content becomes secondary behind its visual quality.

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The new Tate Britain campaign intended to avoid exactly this trap, drawing people’s attention to the meaning of artworks, relating them in some way or another to everyone's lives. Collaborating with agency Grey London, they chose three paintings to be featured on underground billboards, a set of postcards, and on the website, but instead of a reproduction, a descriptive prose draws the audience into the artwork’s particular universe. Steven van der Meulen’s Portrait of Elizabeth I (c.1563), Francis Bacon’s Triptych (1972), and John Everett Millais’ Ophelia (1852) were described in a mini-essay, not in physical terms, but rather introducing the situation the paintings are representing. This effect is reinforced by stylistic means as well, the flow of each text reflecting deeply on the artwork’s particular context, age, author, content, and style. The tightly composed text with the simple typography is probably more striking than yet another direct representation of a masterwork from Tate’s collections, not mentioning that it tells a lot more, and invites people to the museum to find out the rest on the spot.

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Source: It's Nice That

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