Minimalist Film Posters
If you saw a film at Curzon Soho this January, chances are you noticed the wonderful exhibition of minimalist film posters in the -2 basement, right by the screens. This collection is the work of Curzon Soho staff member, Gabby Kere, an extremely talented artist and cinephile whose exhibition wowed us all and earned her widespread recognition from the likes of Time Out and the Evening Standard.
With the exhibition now in its final days, we wanted to take the opportunity to shout about Gabby and her work, and to tell you all a little bit more about the idea behind this unique collection and what's next for Gabby's art.
Here's Gabby on her Minimalist Film Posters exhibition.
What was the inspiration behind this collection?
That's an easy question. My love for cinema of course. I feel lucky because from a very young age I was exposed to the best of cinema. I remember how my father let me stay up late after bedtime to watch Hitchcock movies with him. It was a kind of father-daughter bonding time for us. I remember watching Jaws for the first time when I was about 10 years old and I was totally hooked. Later I went to study fim art for 4 years at Uni and I spent the last 7 years working in different cinemas. I recently became interested in graphic design, abstract and minimalist art, and it seemed to be the next natural step in my creative evolution to try to combine the things I am most passionate about.
How did you select the posters and films?
In total I've made around 40 minimalist movie posters so far, but I had to pick the best 10 for this exhibition at Curzon Soho. How do I pick the films? Well, it's easy, these are my favourites. Some of the films in the collection I have seen dozens of times and I can never tire of watching them. They're the films I grew up with, the films I watched on TV with my family. Watching movies was a family tradition when I was a kid. We had a huge VHS collection and me and my brother watched films over and over again to the point where these tapes became totally worn out and unwatchable. So I have a very strong emotional attachment to them, especially movies from the 1990s, and when I re-watch them now I feel nostalgic. I'm sure many people in my generation feel the same way about E.T. and Jurassic Park, and Star Wars of course
Why strip the design back this far?
As an introverted person I find the simplicity and harmony of minimalist art very comforting. Saying as little as possible to make a point, for an introvert is the way of everyday life. When I first had the idea of creating minimalist movie posters the challenge was to get rid of everything that is not essential, to reach that sweet spot where the design is still recognisable and where it still resonates with the viewers without being too obvious or too abstract.
So with each poster I had to find that "golden mean" where looking at one or two simple geometric shapes still provides enough reference for the viewers, so that they can associate for example two rectangles with the movie Titanic. It's the viewer's film knowledge that makes the design work, not me. If you think about those amazingly detailed and beautiful renaissance paintings, those were made for the viewers eyes, to awe them and to make them admire the artist's talents. Minimalist art is created for the viewers' mind, to make them think, to make them do the work. For some it might take a few seconds and for others a few days for them to have that "Aha" moment. It can be very rewarding.
Minimalist art is more about the art object itself rather than the artist as a person. I purposely don't use brush strokes, textures, signatures or titles because these images are not supposed to be about me or my drawing skills, but about the relationship that the viewer forms with the pictures when they look at them. I heard a criticism that I don't need any drawing skills to create minimalist art, because anyone could easily create these images. Anyone could draw very simple geometric shapes on a plain canvas, but it's more about the idea than skills.
What do you think to the current state of film posters and the trends we're seeing?
I think the tendency is for movie posters to follow the same generic and stereotypical formula, and it's getting more and more ludicrous, especially when we look at film posters from the same genre. But as movie making is often focused on money making studios can't afford to take the risk to be more artistically crafted and original. It is safe to go with the good old recipe that helps the viewer to navigate the overwhelming amount of movies that come out every week. In my opinion, a brave, innovative choice would make a movie stand out from the crowd.
What are your favourite film posters of the last year?
My favourite film in 2017 was A Ghost Story and I have the poster on my wall at home. I loved its simplicity and atmosphere. It's a very bold choice to put the lead character on the poster, but covered from head to toe. I also liked the minimalistic posters created for The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
What's next for you after this exhibition?
I am deeply humbled by the attention and praise it has received so far, as this is the first time I have shared my work with a wider audience. I could have not have found a better and more suitable platform for my work than Curzon Soho. I would love to know if people are up for more challenges to guess my minimalist posters. I would love to share the rest of the minimalist series in collaboration with other venues. I also daydream about creating a picture book with 99 minimalist movie posters one day.